This Sunday, 1 December 2013, marks the beginning of our new Church Year as we celebrate the beginning of Advent, and begin our preparation for the birth of the Christ Child.
Our tradition at St Andrew's Church is to light an Advent candle each week, and also (at the 09:00 Eucharist) to focus on the Jesse Tree, both of which are wonderful ways to include our children in our worship and provide us with touchstones for our Advent journey.
Our children will begin the 09:00 Eucharist in Church with us during Advent, going out to Children's Church after our worship time this week, and similarly each week after the Lighting of each Advent candle and the Jesse Tree focus.
We will also mark St Andrew's Day (30 Nov) and World HIV/AIDS Day at each service on Sunday.
We are also in the middle of the annual international campaign "16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence" (25 Nov - 10 Dec), with the theme this year "from peace in the home to peace in the world". We are all well aware of the critical levels of rape and abuse that take place in our communities. Perhaps it would be good to begin with considering our own attitudes and actions, thinking about our own homes, and allowing God to lead us into action from these reflections.