Thursday 23rd November, 2017
From the Provost
In Christ your Son our life and yours
are brought together in a wonderful exchange.
He made his home among us
that we might for ever dwell in you.
The season of Advent, which starts our church’s year on December 3rd this year marks the return of familiar hymns, themes, the approach of Christmas with all that that evokes. And the familiar is often comforting and welcome. On the other hand, Advent is also a time when we give voice to our longings, our sense that things are not right, that in our fractious world and broken hearts, we need the love of God to come and dwell among us once again. And so Advent also disturbs us, shake us up a little, and so prepares us for what we might otherwise miss in the coming of Christ at Christmas. Advent is about both the comforting familiar and the disturbing, surprising Word. Advent pulls us in two directions at once.
At the heart of our Advent longings, and our humanity, is the desire to connect, to be in relationship with both God and our neighbours. In amongst the strain and stress of Christmas preparation it is easy to lose sight of the fact that at the heart of Christmas is a celebration of that connection: as our Eucharistic prayer reminds, God coming to us, that we might come to God. Our gift giving at Christmas is an imitation and reflection of that wonderful exchange which is at the heart of the incarnation: the grace and love of God met in this human baby, and man; just as our own presents express the generous love of which we are capable, and our affirmation of what others mean to us. Our Advent longing for connection is met by that gift of Christ at Christmas that both affirms and redeems our humanity, affirms our longing and deepens our response to live out more fully that world where our connection one with another is recognised and honoured.
Advent and Christmas are busy times at the Cathedral, and it is wonderful to welcome so many through our doors. The challenge is to ensure that our prayer and worship helps draw them and us in to that wonderful exchange of love which is at the heart of the good news of Christmas. I hope that you too find time to encounter the God who makes his home among us, that we might dwell in him.
Wishing you a blessed Christmas,