Today is the first Sunday in Advent and the first Sunday of the Church’s Year. Today we begin our journey towards Easter night, which is the most important, greatest and holiest night of the year. Our first stop along this road will be the twelve days of Christmas (Christmas day to Epiphany), when we rejoice in the birth of Him who leapt from Crib to Cross. Our preparations for this Christmas feast begin now. Advent is here.
All during Advent we shall be faced with a very big temptation – a temptation to anticipate Christmas, rather than prepare for it. Everywhere people have started to celebrate Christmas weeks ago. The shop assistants who work in our malls have to listen to Christmas carols from November; like them, many will be sick and tired of all things Christmassy well before the day is here.
For many of them, the true days of celebration – the “twelve days of Christmas” will be empty and flat. During these days they will be recovering from the very thing they should be celebrating! We should not join them, but rather fast now in preparation for the feast. The church calls us to a sense of timing quite different from the rest of society. Quite a challenge. Somehow, we must reclaim the Church’s sense of the liturgical year. Advent first, and then Glorious Christmas.
Father Simon Eccleton
The Bishop’s Care Appeal
Advent is a time of spiritual preparation. During this time, we remember our calling as Catholics to care for the poor of our community. We look to Mary, who would have quietly prepared her heart and mind for the final weeks before the birth of Christ. We too can imitate her gentle and compassionate presence as we prepare to meet Christ in the most humble of circumstances.
Together as one in the diocese of Christchurch we provide food, housing, counselling, security and support to anyone who needs our help through the Care Appeal. Please give generously to this annual Care Appeal
Bishop Paul Martin SM