Come and be a part of our Advent and Christmas celebrations. Advent and Christmas speak of a God who breaks into our world, coming and walking with us as one of us, sharing our hopes, fears, vulnerabilities and joy. This is no distant and remote God, but the Word-Among-Us.
Advent is a season of expectation as the Church prepares to celebrate the coming (adventus) of Christ in his incarnation, and also as judge and saviour at the end of time. The readings and liturgies not only direct us to Christ’s birth, they also challenge the modern reluctance to confront the theme of divine judgement. The Four Last Things—death, judgement, heaven and hell—have been traditional themes for Advent meditation. The characteristic note of Advent is therefore expectation, rather than penitence. Advent focusses on the key people who were prepared and chosen by God to make possible the incarnation of his Son. Our eyes are drawn to the Blessed Virgin Mary, John the Baptist, Elizabeth and Zechariah; and our Old Testament readings focus upon the prophets who look towards the coming of the Kingdom of God. Advent, then, is the season of promise and hope. ‘O Rising Sun, you are the Splendour of eternal light and the sun of justice. O come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death.’ (from the Great Advent Antiphons).
The celebration of Christ’s incarnation at Christmas is one of the two poles of the Christian year. The wonderful mystery of God’s dwelling among us in the fullness of humanity, as Emmanuel, foretold by the prophets and born of Mary, provides the material of the feast:
Hark, hark, the wise eternal word,Thomas Pestel
like a weak infant cries!
In form of servant is the Lord,
and God in cradle lies.
Christmas is much more than simply the celebration of Jesus’ birth. The task of the Christmas liturgy is to recall us, amid all the joyful customs and celebrations of Christmas, to this central truth of the Word made flesh for our salvation. O come, let us worship.Posted on 1 December 2020