Bishop Brian’s Advent Message
Dear brothers and sisters,
I am beginning this Advent in Kingussie, our most easterly parish. The word ‘Advent’ comes from Latin and means ‘to come’. The Church gives us the four weeks of Advent so that we can properly prepare for Christmas, when Jesus first came into the world, but also to help us “stay awake” as we wait for when Christ comes again in glory at the End of Time.
This has been a very difficult year for us all and no one has been a stranger to uncertainty and anxiety. Advent points to the longed-for Messiah, who when he came surpassed all expectations. Advent is such a rich Season whose themes can speak powerfully to us in our weaknesses:
HOPE – recognising in our vulnerability our need of God.
EXPECTATION – Our hope is not wishful thinking but rooted in the truth that God always keeps his promises.
PATIENCE- Learning to wait.
REPENTANCE- Accepting John the Baptist’s cry to ‘Prepare the Way of the Lord’.
TRUST – Often we will not understand, or perhaps even like God’s ways, but Mary and Joseph teach us to willingly surrender in faith to his loving plan.
There has been much recent conversation about ‘cancelling Christmas’, as if that were possible. We know that we will celebrate the Lord’s Nativity! However, I have been convinced, for many years, that we do loose out when Advent is eclipsed by celebrating Christmas prematurely. This year many social activities will not occur and people will miss them, as I will. However, a ‘quieter’ December will allow us to focus on Advent. I invite you to embrace this season of Advent and allow its rich themes to touch your hearts. If you do, you will not only be strengthened by the Lord at this difficult time but also be better prepared for Christmas.
May Mary, Star of the Sea, guide you and your families this Advent.