The celebration of ‘Xmas’is well underway: the shops are urging us to spend our reduced real incomes, celebrities pontificate about their ‘perfect day’, and the office party season is about to kick off. In many ‘Xmas’ is a fitting name for all this as by using the anonymous ‘X’ it does not remotely claim to be anything about Christ. It would be difficult to see how it could.

For the Christian, Christmas is still some way off. In fact, this Sunday marks the start of the season of preparation for that feast. Advent is a time when try to make some space to think again about two intertwined ‘comings’: the second coming of Christ at the end of time and his first coming among us as a tiny babe. Both are linked and both shed light on the other. On this first Sunday of Advent we think not so much of the babe but of the man who is both Lord and Saviour coming triumphantly at the end of time to judge all peoples. That reflection gives the context for the celebration of Christ’s birth. The child who is born is none other than the eternal Son of God who has come into our world to save us.

The shops and the celebs and the parties are just distractions. Take part in it all if you want, but try to make some time each day in the next month to remember what really matters. P.D.


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