The Season of Advent

Next Sunday, the 28th of November, we will begin again the great season of Advent. 'Advent' means 'appearance' or 'manifestation.' In this season we celebrate three appearances or comings of Christ in our world. At the start of the season we think most about his final appearance, what we call his 'second coming', when, as we say each week at the Eucharist, he will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. Only after that do we begin to narrow our focus and concentrate more on his coming as a child at Christmas, when 'the Word became flesh and lived among us.' At the start therefore, Advent directs our gaze away from earth, away from this world, inviting us to consider the end of all things and our own personal last end. It is a good reminder to us not to get too bogged down in the details and difficulties of daily life but to keep our attention open to the coming of God in our lives. The season of Advent gives us an opportunity to reawaken our sense of wonder and to recall that God is always coming to us, even if we are often unaware of it. That is the third great coming of Christ but unlike the final one and the past one at Christmas it is going on all the time! Jesus is constantly standing before us, knocking at door of our hearts like a stranger seeking refuge. In Advent we can learn again to open the door and let him in.

The Light of the World, by William Holman Hunt


To you we come, Father of lights,

with angels and saints,

where heaven and earth unite.

May Jesus meet us in the breaking of the bread.


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