News for Sunday 5th December: The Second Sunday of Advent

News from St Mary the Virgin, Kenton on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th December 2021: The Second Sunday of Advent

This Sunday is the Second Sunday of Advent and in the Good News from Luke's Gospel, our anticipation of Christmas increases as he conveys the message of John the Baptist proclaiming a baptism of repentance: “A voice cries in the wilderness, Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight.” How are we preparing ourselves for Our Lord's coming? We are probably focused on the practical issues: How will the new Covid variant affect our plans? Where are going to be spending Christmas Day? What presents do we need to buy? When should we put up the decorations? But that is not the preparation that John is talking about, and refers us back to the words of the prophet Isaiah (40:3-5): “Every valley will filled in, every mountain and hill be laid low, winding ways will be straightened and rough roads made smooth. And all mankind shall see the salvation of God.” This is about us preparing ourselves spiritually. Of course, there are things we have to do and exciting events that are coming up.

The first of these is our Christmas Fayre TOMORROW (Saturday 4th December) from 10.30am – 5.00pm. Do please come and support this if you can, and help to raise some additional funds for St. Mary's. John the Baptist preaches a baptism of repentance; and we should not ignore the opportunity for the sacrament of reconciliation which is offered every Saturday at 5.15pm (or by arrangement with either Fr Mike or Fr Leslie).

The First Mass of Sunday is at 6.00pm tomorrow. The Parish Mass is at 10.30am on Sunday 5th December. These are both opportunities to prepare ourselves spiritually for the coming of Our Lord at Christmas. And we continue to pray for those Christians throughout the world who are unable to proclaim their faith publicly, such as Naser Navard Gol-Tapeh who is in prison in Iran. Please read this month's Prayer Case from ACAT (Harrow) and watch the YouTube video if you can.

Unfortunately, there is so much to do at this time of year, and if we are not careful we rush around doing a little bit of everything and doing nothing properly. Even during this interregnum, we have tried to maintain our spiritual life of Morning and Evening Prayer, and a daily Mass (except for Mondays) at different times on each day to (hopefully) enable everyone to get to church or to join in online – even if you can't manage it on Sunday for some particular reason. As a noticeboard outside another church reminded me the other day: “Remember the reason for the season” and let's make sure we put Jesus at the forefront of our Advent preparations.

David Griffiths