December is such a busy month for many of us. There is much to do, cards to send, presents to wrap, good food to prepare. This Season of Advent is indeed preparation for Christmas. I have mentioned the material stuff we might do and it is important because it is in these ways we are able to express our love and fondness for one another. But the Season of Advent can, if we will allow it, help us to prepare spiritually.
Some people suggest that as Lent is to Easter, so Advent is to Lent. Whilst there is an element of forgiveness and penitence, the great theme of Lent, the Advent refrain is expectation expressed in the Greek word ‘Maranatha’ – ‘Our Lord, come’ (1 Corinthians 16.22). We look forward to and hope for the birth of Christ on Christmas Day.
The lighting of candles, for example on the Advent wreath, express the hope of Advent, the coming of the Christ child, in the light shining in the darkness. And although perhaps not intentional, our Christmas Tree lights in our festival will express this too.
May your preparations for Christmas be fruitful so that when Christmas comes you will be full of joy and wonder.
With very best wishes for a Happy Christmas.
Helmsley Parish in the Diocese of York
Helmsley's parish church, dedicated to All Saints, dates back a thousand years and more. The present building , built on Norman foundations, was dedicated in 1838. Helmsley Parish also includes Anglican churches at East Moors, Rievaulx and Sproxton.
On Sundays in Helmsley there are two well-attended services and a regular midweek Holy Communion. Locals and visitors alike, of all traditions, are always very welcome to all our services. After Sunday's main 9.30 am service at Helmsley there is an opportunity to meet one another over refreshments.
Helmsley Church is open every day as a place of interest and for private prayer from 9am - 5pm (summer) and 9am - 4pm (winter). St Columba's Chapel, in the south transept, has votive candles to aid people's own particular prayers.
A Christian church has existed in Helmsley since AD 200, according to the 19th century wall-paintings in the north aisle. Certainly there was one on this site by the time of the Norman Conquest. (There's a 10th century hog-back tombstone in the porch and an entry in the Domesday Book of 1086.) The present building's splendid chancel arch, one of the largest in Yorkshire, dates from the 12th century (as does its counterpart over the entrance). Otherwise the handsome present day building is largely the result of major restoration in Victorian times, with the stained glass as well as the murals from this period too. All this variety of history and interest makes Helmsley Church a very special place to visit and worship in. More information about our other churches is elsewhere on the website.
Tim Robinson, our vicar, says: "I love being vicar here. Helmsley is a great community and I aim to serve everyone here be they part of the Church or not. Members of the congregation and I work with other community organisations for the common good. We have a special relationship with Helmsley in Business. Recently I accompanied the Archbishop of York (on his Pilgrimage of Prayer, Witness and Blessing around the Diocese) to celebrate Helmsley's win as best Market Town in the Great British High Street competition at the The Feathers Hotel before he answered questions at an event called 'What's on your Mind' at Helmsley Church.
"We are delighted you have taken the trouble to look at our website. We hope you will come and visit us soon."