Rev Dr Paul Chamberlain, vicar, St Faith’s, Lee-on-Solent
I don’t know about you, but to me this year has passed incredibly quickly.
Can you remember where you were on New Year’s Eve, 11 months ago? What were your expectations about the year?
Each year there are set events for all of us – birthdays, anniversaries, summer holidays, Easter, Christmas and others I’m sure. We mark out time using these events, recognising that each one means we’re a little older, and perhaps a little wiser.
This weekend, Advent begins. I know these days it is marked by Advent calendars, most of which involve chocolate (or Lego, if you’re really lucky) and busy preparations for the festive season.
For Christians, Advent is also a time of spiritual preparation for the Christmas celebrations to come. Spirituality is about how we make sense of life and in Advent, Christians remind themselves that one of the most important things to happen to the human race is celebrated at Christmas – the birth of Jesus.
As part of our spiritual preparations, St Faith’s in Lee-on-the-Solent started an Advent course this week – four sessions exploring what the people at the time said about Jesus. They seemed to think he was pretty special and we do too.
We’re also preparing for Christmas. Tomorrow between 10am and 2pm, St Faith’s is holding its very popular Christmas Fayre – do come along if you’re in the area!
On December 16 at 6pm, we’re holding our carol service with candles and music. This is a wonderful way to celebrate Christmas.
On Christmas Eve, we have a crib service at 3pm. This is particularly suitable for younger children, and if they’d like to dress up as someone from the Nativity, that would be great. At 4.30pm on Christmas Eve we have a Christingle service, which is brilliant for all ages. And then at 11pm we have Midnight Mass as we mark the start of Christmas Day.
On Christmas Day, we’re holding a lunch for people who would otherwise be on their own. If you’d like to come, or know someone who would, do call us or visit our website to book a place. And may I wish you a joyful Advent and Christmas.