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Chaplain's Chat, 24 November 2020


One of the issues with having a long Christmas holiday is that, as a chaplaincy team, we have to start focusing on the Christmas message in November so that we can get through the story before the students begin their holiday. I have to admit that I do not particularly like doing this as it all feels ‘too early.’ However, the situation is what it is. 

When it comes to annual celebration such as Christmas, there is a danger that we can become blasé to celebrations that occur every year. The definition of the word blasé in the Oxford dictionary is being “unimpressed with or indifferent to something because one has experienced or seen it so often before.” In my experience, for many people, this can be true of Christmas. We scurry around getting all the preparations done and buying food and Christmas presents. For many people it is a stressful time. It does not need to be. Christmas should not be about “things” and getting it all right. It is about family – the Holy Family, and our families. We hear the scripture verses that tell us of the amazing message of Christmas every year. We must protect against being blasé to them and open our eyes and minds to the wonderful story of the birth of the Messiah.

As such, we have begun doing the Christmas story in our Chapel services. As always, we begin with the season of Advent. The first Sunday of Advent this year is on the 29th November. 

The spirit of Advent and of Christmas is encapsulated in the focus of the Advent candles – love, hope, peace and joy. 

We read in the Old Testament that the prophet Isaiah foretold: 
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

Hundreds of years later, the angel Gabriel appeared to a young woman called Mary and said to her:
 “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favour with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” (Luke 1:30-33)

When this baby was born, the “angel of the Lord” appeared to some shepherds watching over their sheep in the fields and said: 
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. (Luke 2:10-11)

May I encourage you to reflect on this during the approaching season of Advent. This is the true gift of Christmas - Jesus, the promised Messiah (Saviour.)  What a gift this is to us all as we cope with the joys and the stresses of our hectic lives. May I invite you to slow down and savour the love, hope, peace and joy of the Christmas message. 

I pray that God will richly bless you and your families this Advent.

God bless.

Reverend Dave