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St Albans Branch Chaplain's Page

Dear Vergers

Some of us look for signs when we are trying to make a decision.
The Bible fell open to such-and-such a passage!
My girlfriend dumped me!
I got a pay rise!
The biopsy showed it is malignant.
There are wars and rumours of wars…

How do we discern the times, and the signs of the times?
We read in the First Letter of Peter,
Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed. (1.13)
And Jesus said,
Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come! (Mark 13:33)

On a more mundane level, signs point the way. As I have learnt my way to St Saviour’s Church, I have no need to follow the instructions from my sat nav. Now I know where to turn without looking at the sign or being prompted. We all filter out the information that we don’t need so that we can focus on the information that will get us to our destination.

Many of us are so overwhelmed with information, signs, symbols, images,and sounds; and I sometimes think that if God were to give us a sign it would have to be a significant one or there would be a good chance of our missing it.
The God of mercy has given just such a sign. May we all have eyes to see it and hearts to perceive it. Come to Bethlehem to see him whose birth the angels sing.
Come adore on bended knee Christ the Lord the newborn King.
And from Matthew’s Gospel:
All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
Look the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel which means God is with us. (1:22, 23)

The signs of all the Christmas trappings: the tinsel; the packages and the wrapping; the carols and the lights; the Crèche with the baby Jesus, Joseph, Mary, and the shepherds, all these are signs associated with The Sign, named Emmanuel.
God is with you and with me in the person of Jesus Christ. This is the good news we have to share with our congregations. This is the heart of the celebration!
And so let us keep the Feast of the twelve days of Christmas.
Gloria in excelsis Deo!

With every blessing for the Advent season, and for Christmas when it comes, to you and yours

Fr Andrew