From the Pastor – December 13, 2020

“THE END OF ALL THINGS IS AT HAND. THEREFORE, BE SERIOUS AND SOBER FOR PRAYERS. ABOVE ALL, LET YOUR LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER BE INTENSE, BECAUSE LOVE COVERS A MULTITUDE OF SINS.”  (An Advent Sourcebook, p.77) When the people met John, they wanted to know who he was, why he was there, and what his purpose was. Sound familiar? Isn’t that what we ask people today when we meet them for the first time?  Not much has changed in the past 2,000 years as far as that is concerned. John’s mission was simple. He was to prepare the people for the Messiah and then disappear. But he wanted them to know that the appearance of the Messiah would change things for them. While we are not John the Baptists, our mission is the same. In addition to celebrating the presence of the Messiah in our lives, we are also called to prepare for the day when he will return again. With all the preparations we are making for Christmas, Jesus’s return does not seem to be as important as the church reminds us it should be. If Jesus returned today, would we be ready to greet him or would we ask him for more time? Advent offers us an opportunity to step back and reflect on the gift of Jesus to us, and the opportunity we have to actively work for his coming again in glory. There are some who speculate that his return will not be for another 1,000 years.  Advent, though, reminds us of the call of Jesus to conversion, to holiness, and to celebrate his presence as an ongoing relationship with him and the Father. Advent is also the season of hope that allows us to see beyond the difficulties we have, including the pandemic, to a world of beauty, because it was created by God. It also allows us to recognize that each of us is called to radiate that hope in all we are and do, and to help one another experience the gentle, loving presence of the Messiah. May we all be faithful to the call of the Lord, as he has drawn us together as his people to make a difference for one another. Today, at 3 PM, Saint James Parish will celebrate its fourth annual Lessons and Carols. This year’s presentation will be virtual, with the links on the parish Web site.  Hear how the Old Testament foretold, and the New Testament proclaimed, the birth of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. Each reading will be followed by a seasonal song or hymn sung by our parish choir.  We all can use a little extra Advent hope this year. Please join us and invite your families and friends to join us as well.