On a liturgical note: December 2018

By Canon Philip Gillespie

Because we won't be together as a college for Christmas itself, the season of Advent takes upon a greater significance here at the Beda in that we make a point of celebrating the Feast of Saint Nicholas (the original Santa Claus) on 6 December, and take the opportunity to 'be reconciled to God' through a communal celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and also have an extended Advent reflection and special meal together before we go our separate ways.

Advent is, of course, far more than simply a four-week preparation for a one-day celebration. It embraces all these themes of the giving of gifts, the sharing of reconciling love, and the sitting at table sharing the stories and sharing the foods of the season in order that we be more open and receptive to the gift, the love, the food which is the very essence and purpose of the particular liturgical celebration on the 25th day of December – the Word made flesh, dwelling among us, allowing us to see His glory.

This message of 'seeing His glory' is one which is very important for us – to be people who have perception, who are attentive and always ready to see and to recognise and rejoice in the glory of the Lord which is revealed to us through the gifts, the reconciling love, the sharing of family time and the rich and special experiences of this season.

In the celebration of the liturgy in our parishes – be it in daily Mass, the celebration of morning and evening prayer, the Baptisms and Confirmations, Marriages, Anointings of the Sick, and the commending of our dead to a place of light, happiness and peace – we are invited to have eyes that see and recognise His glory. This glory of the Lord is revealed in and through the ordinary events of daily life; just as in the Sacraments that which is truly glorious, the love of the Blessed Trinity, is communicated to us in and through the simplest of means – words and gestures, water and wine, bread and oil transformed through the working of the Holy Spirit.