As you are all no doubt aware we are now into the season of Advent. Advent is a time of making preparations for the feast of the Nativity of Our Lord…ie: Christmas! For Christians the events leading up to and surrounding Jesus’ birth can be an extremely dramatic and exciting time of our faith. In the twelve to fourteen months before his birth everything comes together. From Gabriel’s announcement to Zechariah in the temple to the shepherds rushing to greet the newborn King this is a time of great mystery and joy.
Advent is our time of preparation and waiting for the birth of Jesus. Sometimes though, we can get swept up in the hustle and bustle of a commercial Christmas that it can be difficult to remember those who were involved in the Nativity, who real people with real lives, emotions and roles. These people were waiting a lot longer than four weeks for the Messiah.
In these twelve to fourteen months it was a time when God reached down and touched his Creation. He was preparing the world for change. God showed that he loves us so much that He had to come and live as one of us. He invites us to do as the people of the Nativity did and come closer to him, to respond to his offer of love. If we observe the story of the Nativity fully we see how God had made room for absolutely everyone on that first Christmas. There was even an opportunity for Herod to be transformed. He could have learned from the Wise Men who visited him.
The same is true of each of us. As we approach Christmas we can learn from the wisdom of others. As many of you know I have recently had my first book Space for Grace: Stories from the Catholic Chaplaincy at Queen’s University Belfast published by Shanway Press in Belfast. In this book some of Ireland’s best known figures recount their stories and experiences of the Catholic Chaplaincy at QUB. Whether this was as a student, an academic, a clerical student or staff member.
I am delighted to say that over the last two months a few hundred copies of this book have already been sold and have been very warmly received by those who have purchased them. As Christmas approaches I can’t help but think that this book would make an excellent gift for your loved ones who may have had their own experience of Queen’s University and the Catholic Chaplaincy.
It is also for sale in the Parish Shop in Newcastle or Smyth’s Musique.
If you buy through me (simply send me an email to email@example.com) with your details and if you would like any books signed I will be more than happy to do this. Also because Christmas is a time of goodwill I will be only too happy to post your books out to you at no cost. Christmas is an expensive enough time without having to factor in postage and packaging costs as well! I know of many other local artists who have books or music for sale at this time and truly I believe these somewhat more personal gifts really do add that something extra to this time of year.
To all who have bought the book so far I wish you a tremendously happy Christmas and pray that it will be a time of great blessing to you and your families. I am really looking forward to 2017 and seeing what will unfold. For now though I simply continue to pray for grace. Not graces, but simply God’s grace. His grace is enough for me.
God bless you all