What started out as a bit of fun with a few parishioners at the parish of the Sacred Heart, Accrington (now closed) as a way of trying to 'keep Christmas out of Advent' has developed into an annual letter to members.
The letter is intended to be lighthearted but at the same time give us something to think about in the run up to the celebrations of our Saviour's Birth.
Below is the Message for 2016 from our Chaplain General.
The Advent Preservation Society
A Message from the Chaplain General
As I look out of the rectory window I notice the poles of the scaffolding that currently surround the tower of our beautiful church. In the autumnal evenings they seem to glisten gently in the soft light that emanates from the security lighting hidden behind the scaffold.
Advent is a time of renewal and reflection. As we prepare our hearts once again to receive the King of Kings we must put aside all that is not worthy of the Lord. All that gets in the way of us advancing the Kingdom of Christ our King in this passing world.
It is not only the poles of the scaffolding that glisten in soft light. The shops too are gearing up for the approaching Feast, many of them without a second thought about Whose coming they celebrate. For many it is just another commercial opportunity. As members the Advent Preservation Society we must do all we can not to allow the secular preparations for the celebration of our Dear Saviour’s Birth to encroach on our own spiritual preparations which must always take priority.
I had to smile the other day when my 'Gin Advent Calendar' arrived at my door. The calendar provides a different gin to be sampled each day as you open the windows of the calendar. It is a very different way to prepare for the Feast of the Incarnation. My parishioners obviously know me well!!!
Even a secular thing like the 'Gin Advent Calendar' can be focus for further reflection. A good G and T is made up of several elements. The gin, the tonic, the lime, lemon or cucumber and then, of course, the ice.
The ice doesn’t really add any flavour to the G and T but through its cooling effect improves the overall 'taste experience' of the gin. As Christians and especially as members of the Advent Preservation Society we are called to be like the ice of a good G and T - not to be fully incorporated into the secular society in which we live but to stand apart from it, pointing to other, deeper and more lasting realities.
Lastly, let us remember before God the founding members of our Society Mr Leo Warren and Mr Joseph Peter Schofield and all those who rejoice with us, but now upon another shore and in a greater light, that multitude which no man can number, whose hope was in the Word made flesh, and with whom, in this Lord Jesus, we for evermore are one.
With my prayers and good wishes for a fruitful Advent
The Fairly Very Reverend CPFX Wadsworth