“As with gladness men of old, did the guiding star behold”

On Sunday 2nd January we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany; the arrival of the three Wise Men, coming to greet and worship the Christ Child, God made Man. This story, as related by St Matthew has an important message.  The visitors were foreigners; we are being told clearly that Jesus had come into the world to save all mankind.

Each of the gifts has its own particular significance; Gold symbolizes Kingship, Frankincense is used as part of an Act of Worship and Myrrh, used in the embalming process, is an advance warning of the trial and crucifixion that are to come thirty-three years later.

We stand at the threshold of a New Year; let us pray that the peace and joy brought to us through our celebration of the momentous event that occurred two thousand years ago in a little village in Palestine  will have given us the strength to endure whatever trials lie ahead in 2022.

 I send to you all my blessings for a healthy and happy New Year.

God Bless

“Oh come, oh come Emmanuel!”

We are now in the season of Advent, when we wait with anticipation for the glorious events that are to unfold on the 25thDecember. Emmanuel means God is with us. We will soon all be rejoicing as we celebrate  our Saviour coming to earth and being born in a humble stable.

 In recent years Advent Calendars have become very popular; however too often they are simply used as a countdown towards the secular festivities and the real significance of the word Advent is lost.

Advent should not be  four weeks of counting down but instead should be four weeks of building up – the readings from the prophets during this period give a sense of the anticipation of what is to come. Listen to the joy in the words of Isaiah “Oh people of Sion behold, the Lord will come to save the nations,” and Zephaniah telling Israel to “shout aloud, rejoice and exult with all your heart.”

How are we observing Advent ourselves? Advent is a time for reflection.  Are we in our personal lives ready to welcome the Christ Child?

I hope that we are all able to look forward with anticipation to a pleasurable time ahead. However let us spare a thought and a prayer for those for whom, for so many different reasons, the Christmas season is not a time of enjoyment but one of sorrow and loneliness.

Let us pray that everyone may have the Christmas that we wish for ourselves.

God Bless