“As with gladness, men of old, did the guiding star behold”.
On the 6th of this month we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany, the arrival of the Three Wise Men to greet and to worship the Christ Child – God made Man. This story is here in the Gospels for a purpose – the Wise Men came from “country far”, they were foreigners, we are being told very clearly that Jesus came into the world to save all mankind.
They brought gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh for the new arrival. There is a lovely folk tale that Jesus ignored the gold, liked the aroma from the incense and touched the myrrh.
What is the message in this story? Just how important is money in our lives? Do we let it dominate us or is it in its rightful place, just a means to an end? Incense is a part of our acts of worship, the fragrant smoke represents our prayers as they rise towards the Lord. The Myrrh reminds us of how we must all endure difficulties and sorrows as we go through life and at the appointed time, leave this world behind.
We stand on the threshold of the New Year; we are leaving behind a very difficult year. Let us pray that the love and joy brought in to the world those two thousand years ago will give us the strength to endure all that 2021 will bring.
We are now into the season of Advent, the four weeks of waiting and of preparation for the momentous event that we celebrate on the 25th December, the birth of Our Saviour..
During Advent the church encourages us to take a long hard look at ourselves to see whether we are in a fit state to welcome the Christ Child into our hearts.
We mark the passing of the four weeks in church with an Advent Wreath; its five candles lit one by one as each week passes with the last one in the centre being lit on Christmas Day.
As I write this the national lockdown is due to end on 2nd December; let us pray that this is allowed to happen so that we can come together in person for Holy Mass on the remaining three Advent Sundays and on Christmas Day.
We will hold our Christmas Mass at 10.00am (an hour earlier than usual) on Christmas Day itself. This year there will be no service on Christmas Eve. How we will miss the Carols and being able to wish friends a Happy Christmas with a hug, but the priority must be to keep safe!
I wish you all a very happy and holy Christmas and a healthy and joyous New Year.