IN a month’s time the Christian New Year will begin with Advent Sunday on 2nd December.

The Christian community is expected to fast and prayer for four weeks (called four Advent Sunday) as part of their solemn preparation for celebrating the revelation of God in the birth of Jesus Christ.

God in Jesus Christ shares our humanity and assures us that we have every potential to act as God’s true image, only if we confess our sins and shortcomings and turn back to Him.

Christmas is a celebration of God’s initiative in expressing His love and care for His creation.

As it says in the Bible: “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life”. (John 3: 16)

During Advent Sundays we confess our sins if we have fallen short of the glory of God and have failed to live in God’s grace shown through the birth of Jesus Christ.

We seek God’s forgiveness and commit our life again in His service.

Jesus is the Fountain of Love who always shows mercy and offered forgiveness.

God decided to send His Son Jesus on this earth to be born from a woman called Mary.

Mary had conceived Jesus not through any human relationship but by the Holy Spirit. Mary is a highly exalted woman on this earth. Mary was not a rich woman. Her husband was a carpenter.

Jesus was born in difficult circumstances in a manger.

There was no proper room for Him at His birth. In this way God touched base with the poor, down-trodden, humble and marginal in society.

As we approach Christmas as Christians we are called to continue to exercise our responsibilities and continue to pray for the healing of the sick people; to love our neighbours;

to take care of the poor and vulnerable; to preach the good news of Jesus Christ; to advocate justice and to live in peace with one another.

We are also called to obey God’s commandment ‘Love God and Love your neighbour’.

There is no other commandment greater than this.

Rev Canon Dr Arun John

Vicar, United Benefice of St. Stephen's and St James Church, Diocese of Blackburn