Go back to normal view
Janet’s December letter to the Community
Greetings from the Vicarage! After several months of waiting and expectation I’ve now been at St Paul’s Goodmayes since the 22nd October – and I am very glad to be here. Thank you for your welcome and to all who are doing so much to help me settle in. I’m enjoying beginning to meet you, and I look forward to an interesting few months as I continue to learn more about you, the community and the area.
We’re about to enter a different period of waiting and expectation. Advent begins on the 30th November. The time leading up to Christmas in our modern secular world is generally shown as a time of frantic shopping for gifts and food, of parties and Christmas celebrations. Of course, most of us have to make some practical preparations for Christmas. We are fortunate to be able to buy special food, and to have people close to us with whom we want to celebrate and share gifts. This is part of the joy of life.
But Advent is more than this. The Church offers us the opportunity of using the season of Advent to prepare ourselves to welcome the coming of God as a human baby, with all the vulnerability and fragility, as well as the hope, that a baby represents. It is also traditionally a time when we reflect on the transience of our lives, and consider the world to come; when we remember that this world is only one part of the great reality and that God will one day return as judge; when we remember that we will be held to account for how we have lived. These are sobering thoughts and ones that most of us hold off for as long as we can, but they need not fill us with dread. The God who will be our judge is a God of compassion. He is a God who has shown his amazing generosity by coming to share our human life with all its trials and tribulations. He is a God who understands.
Let us prepare ourselves to meet him with joy.