Posts Tagged ‘liturgical seasons’

The need for Advent

December 10, 2013

Every year when enter the “ember” months, most people (including yours sincerely) start earnestly planning for Christmas. As the mad rush and hectic plans for Christmas goes on, poor old advent just gets ignored and run past as if it doesn’t exist or is not relevant. After the celebration of Christ the King in the last week of November, we just jump to Xmas leaving the poor season of advent alone, cold and lonely. From 1st December the Christmas carols blare out and drown out the penitence of advent, while the faithful start wishing each other a merry Christmas in advance! A pertinent question must be asked: is advent relevant in the life of a Christian?
The Catholic Church, the mother and teacher of all Christians in her infinite wisdom calls her faithful, during this beautiful liturgical season to live in anticipation of a new beginning, a new coming of the Lord. St Bernard a renowned Doctor of the Church explains it clearly in one of his advent homilies:
“We know that there are three comings of the Lord. The 3rd lies between the other two. It is invisible while the other two are visible. In the first coming he was seen on Earth, dwelling among men; in the final coming all flesh will see the salvation of God and they will look upon him that they pierced. The intermediate coming is a hidden one, in it only the elect see the Lord within their own selves, and they are saved. In his first coming our Lord came in our flesh and our weakness, in the middle coming he comes in spirit and in power; in the final coming he will be seen in glory and majesty. Because this coming lies between the other two, it is a road on which we travel from the first coming to the last.”
Advent therefore is a period of joyful anticipation of the final coming of Jesus which comes after his first coming, which Christmas commemorates. This is the heart of the message which Christians must bring to an age often staggering in existential and materialistic sadness which are the horrid after effects of the dictatorship of relativism. At advent we are called to look inwards and discover our true essence and to remember that the lord is always coming for those who look for him in truth. It is a season in which Christians are invited by the church to get ready, to make a place for the lord in our lives, relationships, families and homes to anticipate his comings. The O come, O come Emmanuel hymns will serve for us a call to “make straight in the desert a highway for the Lord” (cf Isaiah 40).
The purple color of Advent is a sign of repentance and expectation; two key actions and attitudes at the heart and spirit of the season. We are called at advent to repent from sin and vice and renounce all our choices that are at variance with divine and ecclesial law. It is a time not for shopping, but of emptying ourselves of the clutter of our daily idolatry and renouncing the disordered self love that squeezes God’s grace out of our lives.
May God give us the grace to tap into the spirit of advent as we await in joyful hope the coming of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with the Father and Holy Spirit World without end.
We also wait with Mary, who prefigured advent after receiving the angelic message and waited nine months in hope and prayer for the delivery of he who would be great and called son of the most High God (cf Luke 1 vs 32).
Have a blessed advent!
Christmas season begins with Christmas vigil on the 24th of December and ends on the epiphany of the Lord which falls around 6th of January.
Namse Udosen


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