Four Rs for Advent

I want to offer you four simple Advent words and to make life easy, they all begin with the letter ‘R’.

The first is Repent.    That’s the theme of the Advent prayer, ‘Give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light’.    That’s the thrust of the preaching of John the Baptist, ‘Repent  for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’.    Turn from darkness, choose light. And so the call to repent.

My second word is Rejoice.    For centuries God’s people had looked forward to the coming of the Messiah.   The day seemed very slow in coming.   But now the ancient prophecies were about to be fulfilled.    ‘Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy’, said the angel to the shepherds at Christmas.  ‘Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.”

My third word is Recognise.   One of the themes of Advent is that Christ is among us now.  I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that there are many people in Christian England who don’t know whose birth we celebrate at Christmas.   Some don’t see him – he’s buried under a mass of holly and mince pies and all the festive trappings.   Some see him, but don’t recognise him.    But you and I do know who he is.   We do recognise him.    Or do we?    We recognise him in the gospel story.    We acknowledge his divinity as well as his humanity every time we say the creed at Mass.   But do we always recognise his voice when he speaks to us in our hearts?   Do we recognise his voice when he cries out to us in those in need?    How tragic to prepare to celebrate Our Lord’s coming to us, yet not recognise Him in his daily presence.

My last word is Receive, and this follows on from recognise.    You can recognise someone, and run a mile from them.   You can recognise someone, but hope to goodness they don’t recognise you.   But to recognise someone you’ve been waiting for, to recognise someone you’ve been longing to meet, and who’s been longing to meet you, to recognise someone you love – that’s a very different matter.    You receive that person, you welcome that person, into your heart and your home.   Listen to those great words from St John’s gospel which we shall hear at Christmas, words full both of tragedy and promise, ‘He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the children of God’.

Receiving Christ in our hearts and minds, we have a new and living relationship with God.   We know we are God’s children.

The summons of Advent;  Repent, Rejoice, Recognise, Receive.

This is a summary of the Sermon given by Fr Ian at Mass on Advent Sunday 2017

About stchrysostoms

St Chrysostom’s is an Anglican (Church of England) parish church in Manchester, UK. We’re an inclusive, diverse and welcoming faith community rejoicing in our Anglo Catholic tradition, where people of many differing backgrounds make friends. Find our Facebook group at
This entry was posted in Anglican, Anglo Catholic and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.