Parish Practice

Yearning in hope Premium

24 November 2016 | by Denis McBride

As we step into Advent, the decorations we make can help us see that what is important is not necessarily what is happening now. We must look back to God’s promises and Christ’s birth and forward to his return

as we approach Advent, we face a new liturgical year and leave another year behind us. This season resets the clocks and calendars of Christian worship as Advent summons us to a new beginning, encouraging us to move away from what has hurt us or haunted us in the past, and inviting us to dream again.

As we prepare for Christmas, however, most of us are absorbed more by planning the holiday celebrations. We worry about what the weather will be like and if it will cause difficulties for relatives and friends who are coming to stay; we worry about how everyone will get along, whether we will eat or drink too much, whether we will say the wrong thing and upset someone, whether we will manage a grateful smile even after unwrapping another pair of socks that is not entirely wanted or needed. And, of course, there is the worry about getting the right present for our friends and family.

The high streets start in late October with all the decorative paraphernalia, ensuring that by the time the real feast of Christmas arrives, everyone is weary of Christmas trees and fairy lights and decorations and canned carols. The retail theatre is putting on another show; and, before Christmas dinner is even over, it is time to move on to a different drama, to the Boxing Day sales and promises of bargains galore, to say nothing of the opportunity to return those misjudged presents.

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