Welcome to S. Michael’s as we come to the fourth Sunday of Advent. Today we light the final Advent candle for love. It is appropriate on this day for our attention to be directed to the Blessed Virgin Mary and her love and faithfulness to God and to her son Jesus. Love is the foundation upon which the incarnation rests and everything else is built upon that.
During Advent we have been helped in our worship by the beautiful wreath which Virginia O’Donnell has created to adorn the candles which have lighted our way. These themes of hope, peace, joy and love have helped to build our expectation of the coming of the Saviour into our own hearts. On Christmas Day we will light the white candle in the centre to celebrate the birth of Christ. On the Sunday after Christmas and then on our celebration of the Feast of the Epiphany we will again light the wreath to mark the joy of the incarnation.
A particular welcome this morning to the Knight family as they bring Billy, Poppy and Ted for Holy Baptism. The Antiphon for today is O Rising Dawn, Radiance of the Light Eternal and Sun of Justice, come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death. The celebration of Holy Baptism, with the giving of a lighted candle to each of the newly baptised, indicates the dawning of a new day, and this is a particularly auspicious day upon which to be baptised.
Tonight we celebrate the Nine Lessons and Carols, a joyous expression of the coming of Christmas and one of the most loved treasures of the Anglican Church. At this time of the year I particularly appreciate the work of Paul Ellis, our Musical Director, and the members of the choir. The beauty of their musical offerings helps us all to lift our hearts to heaven.
Thank you to the Trumpet team for your sterling efforts throughout this year and particularly over this Advent and Christmas period when extra demands are made on you. I also thank Marla Hughes and her helpers for their generous work in leading the Sunday School this year. Today is the last day for the Sunday School until Candlemas on 1 February.
Yours in Christ,
Fr Andrew Starky