Christmas is coming
Though geese may be getting fat and high streets up and down the land have already switched their ‘lights’ on, we at St Anne’s take a deep breath and dive into Advent. This holy season of preparation for the great day of Christmas is what the Church has kept throughout time. It serves to give us a moment (four weeks long, more or less) to contemplate what Christmas is about, and what it still means. We live in a strange tension because the Church maintains Christmas as a season throughout January with the various celebrations of Epiphany, and finishing with Candelmas. While this feasting is intended to counterbalance the mutedness and calm of Advent, the secular world sees Christmas produce creeping into shops from September and within days of Christmas, by the beginning of the new year, it’s all Dry January, diets and resolutions. A strange tension, but Christian theology shows how we are in the world but somehow not of it. Likewise, we have the ‘now and not yet’ sensation of Jesus being here, present in our midst, yet ascended into heaven until he comes again in glory at the end of time.
So Advent is very obviously a paradox in many ways, and a test for any Christian to prolong it until the actual day of Christmas (or even ‘prevent’ in the old meaning of ‘to go before’). And thereby to ‘deepen the joy’ of this great feast which celebrates the coming of God in all the weakness and fragility of a baby, and the appearance of the Christ-child in great humility in the Stable. January continues to focus on these ‘epiphanies’ of God in man through the life of Christ. It’s a story that resonates throughout time and eternity and in ‘a land of deep darkness’ (whatever confidence you may have in our political system and social organization) we do well to heed once again the news of the Prince of Peace, ‘the babe of Bethl’em,’ now and for all time.
At St Anne’s we do Advent with devoutness and duty. And we do Christmas with all the joy and urgency it demands. The shepherds ran with the good news as the first disciples did also upon the resurrection discovery. We are constantly called back to that: the gospel, the evangelism, but most of all the presence of Christ in our lives and his saving love.
Advent begins with Mass on the first Sunday (1 December) and is honoured with our annual Advent Carol Service the same evening at 6pm — a progression of readings and Scripture marking our journey through life, faith, and Advent. The annual Advent booklet will also be available for you to take home and read through for the keeping of a holy Advent, hopefully giving some assistance in concentrating on the days and weeks of the season without letting too much of Christmas crowd in through its attendant demands. As always, we are grateful to the contributors for once again giving us a new and unique look at this liturgical time.
On the 18th December, exactly one week before Christmas, we shall have our Christmas Requiem. It’s a simple, said eucharist at 8pm in church, and during it we light candles for those we have lost and who now rejoice on another shore each Christmas. One candle will burn throughout the week as a symbol of our prayers, and on Christmas Eve the individual candles are lit once again to burn into Christmas itself. All are welcome, and please let us know if there is someone you would like remembered.
To Christmas itself, we have the annual Children’s Nativity and carols on Christmas Eve at 5pm (our most popular service of the year) with Midnight Mass at 11.30pm. Christmas Day is Festal Eucharist at 10.30am, and the following Sunday we keep the Holy Family celebration, again at 10.30. On New Year’s Day, our mass for Mary, Mother of God is at 12 noon followed by drink. And by then we really are into the new year.
We do hope to see you at some point, away from the distractions of last-minute shopping and January sales! As always, we wish you and your loved ones the very best this Advent, this Christmas, and into 2020.
Fr. Simon Walsh (Curate)
Every week at St. Anne’s
8am – Said Eucharist
10.30am – Parish Eucharist with Children’s Church
Every Tuesday 8am
Morning Prayer and breakfast
11.30am – Eucharist
Coming up soon
Back to Church Sunday
Sunday 29th September – 10.30am
Please contribute fruit, vegetables, flowers, jams, pickles, cakes and biscuits.
Any homemade or homegrown produce would be welcome.
Sale after Sunday service with proceeds to Harington Scheme.
All Souls Requiem Mass
Candlelit Requiem Mass with music by Gabriel Faure.
This is the ever popular annual event at St Anne’s, where you can come along to browse a Fine selection of pre-loved clothes, gifts, toys and books. We also set up a fantastic cafe where you can have lunch, cake, hot drinks and even a glass of mulled wine.
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