CANON ANTHONY WRITES:-
When we begin the season of Advent we know it lasts for about four weeks or less but, as is so often the case, time seems to gallop away. Today we find ourselves at the third Sunday of Advent, this third Sunday which we call ‘Gaudete’ Sunday. Gaudete means to rejoice, and today is marked out by the celebrant wearing rose coloured vestments, and the third candle on the Advent wreath is also rose coloured.
To rejoice is one of the key themes of Advent, and that IS WHAT makes it a different time to Lent. We rejoice in Advent for two reasons, firstly, because we are preparing, once again, to celebrate the birth of Christ our Saviour, celebrating God assuming flesh and coming into our world. And we also rejoice, and look forward to the coming of Christ again at the end of time.
When Christ comes again all things will be made new, all will be restored in him. The lovely readings that we hear during Advent describe what this will be like. They speak of God’s vision for our world. They paint a picture of peace and happiness, of justice and fairness, a picture where everything is in harmony.
The kingdom that God is creating is one that we can look forward to, but here and now we will discover signs of God’s kingdom. We will discover those signs when we encounter goodness, where there is compassion and kindness, where there is equality and truth; where there is a willingness to give of our time and support without any expectation of return.
Last Sunday we experienced something of that reality at the annual Christmas lunch for our senior parishioners, and other local residents. About 100 people enjoyed a lovely lunch, as well as Carol singing by our 11.00am choir and entertainment afterwards. Thanks to the generosity of many of you each guest went home with a gift. It was good to welcome Cardinal Cormac and Ruth Cadbury, our MP, who called in to greet our guests.
Such an event requires the hard work and support of many people, and we were blessed to have so many volunteers to cook the meal, set up, wash up and clear away afterwards. So to all who helped in any way, as well as all the car drivers who offered to help, and to everyone who donated gifts, a big ‘thank you’.
So we rejoice today as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Saviour, and we have much to rejoice in the goodness that we witness in our parish.