My dear friends
The first Sunday in Advent was the start of the Christian New Year. The Eucharist on that day was celebrated by Bishop Geoffrey Rowell, former Bishop in Europe and it was a very special occasion and a good way to begin the Christian New Year and this season of Advent.
Advent comes from the Latin verb ADVENIO meaning I come and its symbol is light. The one who comes is Jesus and so on the four Sundays of Advent we reflect on the coming of Jesus at the end of time to be our judge. His light of mercy and judgement will show up everything good and bad alike. This seems scary and awesome. BUT it is vital to recall that the Jesus who is our Judge is the one who has entered our human condition fully and knows us truly and completely in love. The late Cardinal Hume expressed the moment of judgement in this way:- “ Judgement is whispering into the ear of a merciful and compassionate God the story of my life which I had never been able to tell, in his embrace of love we start to tell him our story and begins the process of healing and preparation which leads to heaven.”( pages 228 and 229 ‘To be a Pilgrim’.) That indeed is a thought for Advent and something we can act upon now. That is why elsewhere in this edition is a brief article on Etty Hillesum and her journey of the discovery of God in prayer, God who is merciful and loving. Patrick Woodhouse’s book; ETTY HILLESUM: A LIFE TRANSFORMED is well reading.
Also in this season we look forward to Christmas and the birth of Jesus in a stable in Bethlehem in a crib. We rejoice and celebrate the fact that God has fully entered into our human condition to be our Saviour. His holy birth is a beacon of light in a violent and greedy world. This year we will be having a Creative Cribs competition where people can bring their own specially designed cribs to St Wilfrid’s leading up to our crib service at 5pm on Christmas Eve. Details of this and all our Christmas services are in this edition of the parish magazine.
As we light our Advent candles on our Advent wreath let us recall that Jesus is the light of the world the one who brings hope and love to all.