Advent 4 and Christmas Worship
We welcome you this coming Sunday to our Parish Mass at 9:00AM.
Fr Paul is our celebrant and preacher. No Sunday School until next year. Please join us for Coffee after Mass in the Hall.
Today at 3:00PM is our Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols followed by Mince Pies and Mulled Wine.
We invite you to join us for this very traditional Carol Service with its customary Nine Lessons that tell the whole story of our salvation in Christ. Loved by millions, the Festival of Nine Lesson and Carols is a traditional part of the run-up to Christmas for many families. The original service, first heard at King’s College Chapel in 1918, was devised by E. W. Benson, the first Bishop of Truro and later Archbishop of Canterbury. According to his son A. C. Benson (who wrote the words to Elgar’s ‘Land of Hope and Glory’), his father “arranged from ancient sources a little service for Christmas Eve – nine carols and nine tiny lessons, which were read by various officers of the Church, beginning with a chorister, and ending, through the different grades, with the Bishop.” But it was Eric Milner-White, Dean of King’s College Cambridge, who brought the service to the masses. Deciding that the Festival would be more uplifting than Evensong on Christmas Eve, he set up the Festival as an annual occurrence at King’s College Chapel and achieve instant popularity, spreading his new idea to schools, chapels and churches around the world.
Today our Gospel form St Luke Chapter 1 recounts Mary’s song of praise to God. It spills out of her heart after her relative Elizabeth, the expectant mother of John the Baptist, acknowledged her blessedness as the mother of Jesus. Mary’s song, called the “Magnificat” means “Praise,”from the first word of the Latin of its first line: magnificat anima mea Dominum.
Mary’s song focuses on God’s great works, especially his tendency to turn everything upside down. He “took notice of his lowly servant girl” when choosing a mother for the Messiah, rather than selecting a woman of prominence (1:48). The Lord “scattered the proud and haughty ones,” rather than honoring them (1:51). “He has brought down princes from their thrones, and exalted the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away with empty hands” (1:52-53). God’s kingdom inverts human structures and values, as is seen so clearly in Mary’s own experience.
In the days before Christmas, we can easily get caught up in mass consumption and buying presents and enjoying lavish Christmas parties. Mary’s song encourages us to step back, to think about our values and our striving. Perhaps, this season of Advent can offer a different way, a way of seeking, a way of serving, a way of sacrifice.
The emergence of the omicron variant of the virus and its rapid growth in the population is a source of concern and as a precautionary measure the government have reintroduced some rules such as the compulsory wearing of face coverings in most indoor settings. However, for places of worship it is still up to individual churches to decide the additional precautions they wish to take based on their own risk assessment to protect others and themselves. Fr Paul and the Churchwardens want to assure you that every precaution is being taken to ensure your safety and wellbeing at all times.
Even amid all the hustle and bustle of Christmas, can you still help us support two very worthwhile charity initiatives? We are asking for toiletries or feminine hygiene products. There is a large container in the hall for your donations. Also, there is now a regular container in Church every week for you to make Food Bank donations which will go direct to our local Food Bank in Ramsgate.
Please note that there will be no Newsletter on Sunday December 26th (Boxing Day)
There will be no Coffee Morning or Noon Mass this Friday (Christmas Eve)
Christmas Services 2021
Sunday, December 19th. Festival of Lessons and Carols 3:00PM followed by Mulled Wine and Mince Pies.
Christmas Eve: The First Mass of Christmas at 9:00pm. (There is a Midnight Mass at St Andrew’s in Deal for those who want the later Mass).
Christmas Day. Sung Mass of Christmas Day with Carols at 10:00am.
December 26th Boxing Day The Feast of the Holy Family 9:00AM Parish Mass.
December 28th The Holy Innocents Mass at 6:00PM
December 29th St Stephen (trans) Mass at 6:00PM
January 2nd Sunday The Epiphany of the Lord 9:00AM Parish Mass.
Fr Paul off duty until Saturday 10th January.