The Fourth Sunday of Advent – Reflection by Canon Leslie


Join us for worship online and read Canon Leslie's blog post for Sunday, 20 December 2020.

Today is the fourth Sunday of Advent when we light the last of the purple candles that adorn the Advent wreath. Christmas has not yet arrived. The purple candle and the purple vestments remind us of the penitential mood of the Advent season. The Advent theme of keeping watch, keeping awake, keeping ready for the Lord’s coming is still ringing clearly in our ears.

On the fourth Sunday of Advent, the reading from Luke’s Gospel focuses attention on Mary, the mother of Jesus. As the season of Advent draws to a close, we are invited to prepare alongside Mary to welcome Jesus afresh into our world on Christmas Day. In Luke’s account, the news of Jesus’ conception is brought to Mary by the angel Gabriel. Mary’s response is positive and direct: ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ We are reminded of the Annunciation by the inspiring icon in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit.

For those of you who wanted to do some thinking and preparation for today’s service during the preceding week, I invited you to focus on the image of the Nativity stable. As Mary prepared for the birth of Jesus, so we prepare our homes and churches by re-enacting the Nativity, and the stable is an important reminder of the kind of world into which Jesus was born. In today’s picture, from their book Christmas crib service, Aled and Sian are preparing the stable in their local church.

On Christmas Day, the Gospel theme turns attention to Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus that gives prominence to the shepherds who leave their sheep in order to greet the Holy Family. The image to help us prepare for Christmas Day is the shepherds.  You can find out more about that theme here We would really appreciate you letting us know how you are using these materials. Please send us your ideas and photos of the things you may create; email them to

To find out more about Christmas Crib Service and other adventures with Aled and Sian, please visit the following page of the St. Mary’s Centre website:

We warmly invite you to join us in worship online here:

Aled and Sian send their Sunday greetings to all.

Canon Leslie