My dear friends,
For most of Christian history, Jesus' first coming at Christmas was understood to be a sort of preview of his second coming at the end of time. Being born in an animal feed-trough meant that God is especially present with the very poor, and that God will enable a world where everyone can participate fully. Being sought by the mysterious wise ones meant that the time would come when the whole world would experience the attraction of God's love for us. Being hunted by Herod meant that in the meantime there would be times of persecution, but they would not succeed. Being rescued by Joseph, and fleeing as a refugee into Egypt, meant that God would find a way for all people to be rescued from persecution.
So Advent has always been a time when Christians deepened their expectation for God's wonderful world to actually take place here and now. “Be alert!” was the perennial theme - “Keep your eyes peeled for signs that God's magnificent love is breaking in!” So, stand on guard against the interpretation our society believes, which is to dumb down this magnificent message and turn it into a sentimental story about a sweet baby. Above all, stay wide awake watching for the signs that God's society is breaking in – you'll find those signs everywhere: from St. Anselm's inclusive congregation, to our daily and weekly proclamation of Christ's resurrection taking place in us, to our practical care for the very poor, to our church's challenging the assumption that our society cannot change, or does not need to. Thanks be to God that we have seen a better way! Christ's second coming, in the glory of a world made new, is already on the horizon!
Does that sound like a pipe-dream? An unrealistic delusion? A nice idea without substance? That's exactly what our world encourages us to believe, so that nothing needs to change. But we know differently – we are followers of the One who rose from the dead. Now, nothing is impossible.
I invite you to experience that so-called impossible this Advent and Christmas. Here's some ways:
Tuesday evenings, 6.00 p.m. Newcomers' Bible Study
Saturday December 12th, 3.00 p.m. Messy Church with a Christmas theme
Saturday December 19th, 9.30 am Christmas blitz distributing gifts on the street
1.00 p.m. live animal Christmas outdoor pageant at St. John's Shaughnessy
7.00 p.m. Vivaldi Concert at St. Anselm's.
Sunday December 20th, 10.30 a.m. Lessons and Carols and Eucharist, featuring Childrens choir.
Christmas Eve, December 24th,
2.00 p.m. Christmas party at Dunbar House
4.00 p.m. Christmas Pageant for all ages
9.00 p.m. “Midnight” Candlelight Eucharist.
Christmas Day, December 25th, 10.30 a.m. Christmas Day Eucharist.
Be sure to make each of these special events a way to deepen your experience of God's continuing advent into this world, so that together we may proclaim to a worried society that indeed “...God's reign on earth's begun, that God breaks oppression, sets the captives free, takes away transgression, and rules with equity!”
With blessings for Advent and Christmas,
Harold Munn, priest in charge.
Coptic Icon of the Annunciation (1995) by Bedour Latif and Yousef Nassief.
these lands upon which we worship as the ancestral, cultural, traditional and unceded lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people from time immemorial.