We have shared in fellowship with each other and the land that we love at this sacred time of the year through our joyous celebrations of Harvest. Another year begins to draw to a close and once again we are mindful of how time is passing in our lives.
So, indeed, November introduces a more sombre tone to our Christian year, yet the festivals this month are also special in that they introduce us to the context of God’s love centred in eternity. November gives us the chance to acknowledge the world of unseen things that complement our physical lives and live in our hearts to give us a different (and true) reality; a reality that centres around a never-ending feeling of hope. November affirms the importance of coming to know fully the love of God that transcends time and space and even conquers death. This month is often known as the month of the dead. The Feast of All Souls, on the second of the month, is a time when we come together for a Eucharist in Aberedw at 6.30pm to celebrate and commemorate the lives of the departed, many of whom we love and miss. This is an important celebration when we open our hearts to acknowledge the presence of our ancestors and also the angels who bring a touch of heaven to us in our lives. Preceding this is All Saints Day on the 1st of the month, which we will be celebrating on Sunday, the 30th October. The two celebrations are connected. The Feast of All Saints gives us strength in our individual sorrows to remember the Saints who have trod a troubled path before us – even to martyrdom, their footpaths have paved the way to make it easier for us to follow and thus we may readily call upon their help and intercessions for us. Remembrance Sunday, on the thirteenth of the month reminds us that our capacity for noble sacrifice is an intrinsic part of our nature; at our very best, humankind is truly Christ-like. All these festivals show us that much of our life on earth is bound up with thoughts of heaven. To make sense of life and suffering in our musings we must hold on to the promise of eternal life that Jesus has promised for each one of us.
The Feast of Christ the King on Sunday the 20th is the glorious climax of the Christian year. The celebration of this feast emphasises how humanity and divinity are inseparable within God’s love for us in Christ. Jesus the Christ is King of Heaven and Earth. He defined the true nature of kingship through uniting his divine nature with our human condition thus showing us that the true nature of all sovereignty and leadership involves serving humanity through an embrace of love for those who would be served in all their frailty. His identification with our mortality enables him to sit at the right hand of God for all
eternity and be our advocate in heaven for all time – our King who carries us with him – Christus Rex. May this thought dwell in your hearts for the beginning of Advent on the following Sunday the 27th as we celebrate the story of how Christ’s kingship begins; Emmanuel, who is God with us. The Father always draws us to him through faith and belief in his Son:
“For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.” (John 16: 27.)
As Advent begins and the wonderful Nativity stories begin to compel us forward toward the most exciting time of the year, open your hearts with a deep love for Jesus the babe and through this come to know him and love him as a man. As your faith deepens, your understanding of the Incarnation will enrich you in preparation for the Easter of next year and so the cycle continues. The wonderful truth is that if we dedicate ourselves to serving Jesus accompanied by a true devotion to the example of his life then each moment of our own lives becomes a glimpse of eternity. May this thought help to prepare and sustain you as Winter beckons.
God surround you with so much love that you may know the truth of his Word.