by Tracey Austwick
I was reminded of the importance of preparation for the approaching season of Advent by the Church of Scotland, whose weekly worship materials are made available in advance to assist church service preparation. In their 5 December 2021 service materials, the Church of Scotland asks:
“Should we, as Christians, not be more focussed on preparation than we are? The Incarnation is monumental, world-shattering. Dare we take it for granted and see it as the norm? Let's go back to basics and be rocked to the core by Christ's coming – and be ready for it.” Church of Scotland 5 Dec 2021 worship material
How are we preparing for this Advent season in the Canberra Region Presbytery? Are we sufficiently mindful of the opportunity we have to see the miracle of Christmas with fresh eyes and to share this priceless gift in the places of our pilgrimage?
As far as our personal preparations, there are two weekly studies being promoted at the moment: both the Tuggeranong Uniting Church (across five Thursdays from 25 November at 10am and 7pm – thanks Elizabeth and John for preparing the way) and Saltbush (across three Tuesdays from 30 November at 7.30pm – thanks Mark, Peter, Tim and Geoff for preparing the way), are running weekly studies that will be inspiring. Could these help your preparations? I am having a hard time choosing which I’ll go to as I know they will both be excellent. So, I think I will have to place myself in the position of being doubly blessed and participate in both opportunities. It will be great for my spiritual development, my sense of wonder and my encouragement to share my faith.
Which brings me to the second main reason for writing: how is your faith community preparing to reflect the joy and peace of the Christmas gift of Jesus in your community?
At Tathra Uniting Church, under the leadership of our gifted composer and musician Dr Douglas Simper, we are participating in a community event: Carols at Tathra Beach. Douglas is drawing a vast array of local musical talent together, with various community groups, to ecumenically celebrate the birth of Jesus. On Tuesday 21 December 2021, in the Hobbs Corner area of the Tathra Beachside Caravan park, Frankie J Holden will MC this open-to-all, community event. There will be bands, individual singers and a choir from the Tathra Public School to carol. The Tathra Rural Fire Brigade, Tathra Surf Club and Pambula Rotary Club will support the event bringing their resources to the celebrations.
And, as well as singing the message of Christmas, there will be Bible readings and a Christmas message, to help people understand what they are celebrating. At Tathra Uniting Church, though we are comparatively few in number, we are blessed to have Douglas and his wide network of community contacts, who - whether they know it or not, are responding to God’s work in the community, drawing us all together to prepare for Christmas. What is it you have within your Christian community that you can unite with in the broader community to help “every heart prepare Him room” this Christmas season?
After the Carols at Tathra Beach event, I’ll send in some photos for the Canberra Region Presbytery to share. I hope to be able to see your photos too, showing how you are celebrating in communities, however big or small.