Advent – help!

Sermon Dec 10 2017

It’s so busy this time of year isn’t it? These first weeks in December are probably the worst, because all the end-of-year do’s are upon us. Take a plate here, go out for dinner and spend too much money there, break-ups, prize-givings, and then there’s Christmas to prepare for.

It’s really stressful, and many people don’t cope. It doesn’t help either that it’s been so hot.

What does Scripture have for us?

Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,(That means us)
and cry to her that she has served her term,
that her penalty is paid,
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Sermon: Advent 2013

Advent sermon

Readings:  Isa 2:1-5  Matt 24:36-44

Advent was always my favourite time of year as a girl growing up in the Anglican church. For a start, we had a change from the plain green of trinity, or ordinary time. It seemed so tiresome by the end of it! Now, we had purple – my favourite colour – for altar frontals and stoles, and the change of colour seemed to signify that something new was happening. Colour-coding is a strength of the Anglican Church!

And then there was the music. I used to sing in our church choir, and from mid-October we would be practising for the Advent Carol service. The familiar carols would be greeted like old and dear friends. I still love the austere beauty of ‘O come O come Emmanuel’, and ‘This is the truth sent from above’, as well as more obscure pieces like ‘This is the record of John’. It helped that my whole family was musical, and we would sing through the carol books in preparation for Christmas. Continue reading

Advent wreaths and crowns of thorns

I was clearing the table tonight for dinner, and I moved our advent wreath. I was careful not to get spiked by the drying-out holly – it seems to get sharper every day! One of the difficulties with Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere is that the holly is sappy and soft when you pick it, and tends to die quickly, as well as having no berries! As I looked again at my spiky Advent wreath, it struck me how like a crown of thorns it is!

How very appropriate, I thought. So often Christmas is all about a dear wee baby in an unconventional bed, and these days the whole reason for Jesus’ birth in the world is glossed over – he came so he could die for our sins. It’s fitting then to have a spiky wreath  and to sing some of the older carols which tell the whole story of Jesus’ ministry on earth, and to think, “What does Christmas really mean to me?”

Is it just a nice family time? A chance to eat too much, drink too much, spend too much? Or is it a time to stop and think abut the big WHY of it all.