ADVENT DEC 2020 EDITION - Northeast Anglican
Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the
armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.
THE BISHOP'S CHAIR
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Please know of my prayers for you all this season of Advent, a time of waiting and a time of preparation. We know that Advent, along with the forty days of Lent, is a penitential season; both represent a time to cast off the nonessential things in life, focusing our hearts and minds on the works of God. This may be harder for us to accomplish during the Advent season. At this time of year, we are caught up in our preparations for the Christmas season. The world, in its rush to turn the pages of the calendar as quickly as possible, challenges us to focus on the essentials of our life with God.
But I suspect that challenge has always been central to the Advent season. We anticipate the coming of Emmanuel, God with us, even as we remember His ministry among us. In a very real sense, the present, past and future come together in a particular way dur- ing this time of the year. They join together in a some- what mystical bond that offers a perspective on the life of Jesus. And the season offers a window onto our own lives as well. If we choose to examine our lives.
Charles Dickens, in his well-known Anglican classic, A Christmas Carol, tells the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge. In this tale, the miserly hero comes to a profound realization about the meaning and promise of his life. When confronted by three very memorable ghosts, representing the past, present and future of his own life, Scrooge changes completely, unrecognizably. Though Charles Dickens' work is hardly Scriptural, this little story embraces the many es- sentials of a godly life: the joy of charity, the power of forgiveness, the ability to repent and the eternal message of God's love.
As the time seems to both expand and contract at this time of year, I invite you to examine your own lives. Where has your journey brought you? What have you learned on the way? Where is your destination? When you have reflected on these questions and offered them up in prayer each day, you may well find yourself, at the end of this season, standing in a quiet corner of a lost empire, a vanished past brought present once again. There you will remember, as you have so often before, why you have traveled such a long way; why you have come to the place, a place that seems so time- less in its immediacy. It is at this season of year that the truth is brought forth in all its glorious presence.
A time that embraces the past, the present and the future in a love that we may never fully understand. But we know that it is of God.
A Blessed Advent to you all! A Holy and very Merry Christmas!
Bishop Brian Marsh