The word ‘Advent’ means coming or arrival. It is a time when Christians are encouraged to remember Jesus’ first coming when he was born and the anticipation of his second coming when he will return in glory. Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day (the Sunday nearest to November 30th) and finishes on the 24th December. It finishes on Christmas Eve when we reach the birth of Christ Jesus. The season of Advent has been observed since the fourth century, when new Christians readied themselves for baptism. From the middle ages onwards, it became a time of anticipation and preparation for the second coming of Christ. Some churches decorate their building with the colours purple and royal blue, others use the more secular colours of red and green from the European practice of using evergreens and holly to symbolise the ongoing life and hope in Christ’s birth. (This headline reminds me that we need to ask for volunteers to help decorate the church on Saturday 4 December at 10.00am!) Advent is a time when we focus on what God did when he sent Jesus to be born as a human in the form of a baby. He lived amongst mankind and then paid the price for their sin. Advent is also the time when we anticipate Jesus’ return in glory at his second coming. We don’t know when it will be and as Christians we are told to be ready and to lead Godly lives always so as not to miss out on being with God. I am reflecting on my traditions at this time – the advent calendar, a great excuse for a daily chocolate, family time which will be a mixture of joy and sadness, sharing with friends who bring great love and support, pressies, food and surprises and the verses that support me:- “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:17) Claire