The Liturgy - BCP
The Liturgy - BAS
of the Week
and Christmas Letter
Come, O Come Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel ...
we journey through this season of Advent and into the joys of
Christmastide (the 12 Days that stretch from Christmas Day to
Epiphany 06 January), there is so much hustle and bustle, so many
pressures to make the season jolly and more memorable than past
celebrations, that it is easy to bypass, or even forget, what is the
true significance of Advent and Christmas.
is a season of preparation, not for gifts under the tree and huge
family dinners, but a preparation of our hearts and minds for the
coming of Jesus, our Saviour. We tend to focus on the arrival
of Jesus as a baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger
and the gifts given him by three Wise Men. While these are, of
course, the Scripture we steep ourselves in during the Christmas
season, they are really pointers, like the Star, directing us to pay
attention to what has really happened, what is really happening ...
the birth of Jesus, the baby, the Christ wrapped not in swaddling
clothes but in humanity, we have been given the tremendous gift of
knowing that we are loved by God so completely that God made Himself
one of us that we might better come to know Him, love Him and enter
into relationship with Him. That tremendous and self-giving love is
the greatest and most glorious gift that humanity can ever receive.
among us, Jesus our Saviour, born to bring us the love that sets all
hearts free, is indeed Emmanuel who ransomed captive Israel, as the
beautiful Advent hymn reminds us so poignantly. All of us have times
in our lives when we feel bound and constrained by work, worry,
family, relationships, things that pull our thoughts away from God
and onto ourselves and the world. It is at those times that we
must choose to enter into a personal season of Advent: a season in
which we intentionally prepare our hearts and minds, and our whole
lives, for the indwelling of God's love in Jesus, His Son, into our
Emmanuel, did come to ransom captive Israel. The question to
be answered is: who is Israel? We are. Jesus is ready to
enter into our Advent journeys with us and to bring us our own
experience of Christmas. When we ask him to come into our hearts, we
are really inviting him to be born anew into the manger that is our
lives, our homes, our relationships.
you walk along this Advent path and into the celebration and joy of
Christmastide, you are invited by God to walk with those who are on
the path beside you. As Christians we recognize that we cannot
worship, grow, encounter God in solitude alone. While there are
glorious times when we feel God's presence in the silence and peace
of being alone, we are still called to walk this path with other
faithful and inquiring people.
join us at St. James, Armdale as we travel this journey
together. We are being ransomed and with that release comes
cause for celebration. Let us celebrate together! Join
us in prayer and worship this Advent and Christmas and Epiphany-tide
bless you and all whom you love and pray for in this time of great
celebration and hope!
- St. James Anglican Church, Armdale (Halifax)