Saint Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church

1 St. Francis Drive - Gulf Breeze, Florida 32561
From The Rector

The Rev.
Tim Backus


 “Keeping a Holy Advent is Hard Work…” 

These are the opening words used by our Bishop, The Rt. Rev. Russell Kendrick, as Bishop Kendrick addressed the Diocese in his recent reflection on the Season of Advent. If you would like to listen to or watch Bishop Kendrick’s five minute video reflection on Advent, I encourage you to visit our diocesan website (, or to search “Bishop Russell’s Message for Advent 2019,” on YouTube. 

Part of the difficulty in keeping the Season of Advent Holy, as stated by Bishop Kendrick, is because ‘…our culture has already begun to celebrate Christmas.’ When we look to the culture, our spiritual center can quickly become de-railed. Advent is a time of intentional preparation FOR the celebration of Christmas. Preparation is a critical component to anything we do as humans. Not only is Advent a time of preparation, Advent is a time of expectation and hope of that which is to come. As Christians, we will be in full celebration of Christmas, but that time has not yet come. And by fully immersing ourselves into this holy season of Advent, when we reach Christmas, after preparing our spirit for the hope of that which is to come, the actual experience of Christmas will become that much more meaningful. 

I am reminded of a conversation I had with someone who visited the Episcopal Church years ago during Advent. This person came from a very different tradition and was not accustomed to our liturgical style of worship. In fact, this visitor, as noted by some of the things he said and how he said them, indicated that he may have been more familiar with the overall cultural experience of Christmas and not the Christian experience of Christmas. 

While this might seem like a subtle difference, it is not. The Christian perspective of Christmas and the cultural perspective of Christmas are, very different. In a sense, we are celebrating two completely different holidays. And this is one of the reasons why I think it is fundamentally important to remain steadfast in our faith and rooted in our tradition. By doing so, we do not allow ourselves to succumb to the influence of the world.

Without Mary’s Magnificat, often used in liturgical services during the Season of Advent, we would be much less familiar with the reason why the coming of Christ was so significant and magnificent. And by being steadfast in our commitment to living into Advent, we will be that much more awake and alert for the Lord at his coming again.