Dear Christ Church Friends,
The pre-Christmas craziness has begun again.
As Christians, and especially as Episcopalians, we know that these 4 weeks leading up to Christmas are a different season–the season of Advent. But somehow, the culture around us has conflated “Advent season” with “Christmas shopping season” and it has diminished the richness of both our celebration of Advent AND of Christmas.
It wasn’t always so —
The word “Advent” is derived from the Latin word adventus,meaning “coming,” which is a translation of the Greek word parousia. Scholars believe that during the 4th and 5th centuries in Spain and Gaul, Advent was a season of preparation for the baptism of new Christians at the January feast of Epiphany, the celebration of God’s incarnation represented by the visit of the Magi to the baby Jesus, his baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist, and his first miracle at Cana. During this season of preparation, Cristians would spend 40 days in penance, prayer, and fasting to prepare for this celebration; originally, there was little connection between Advent and Christmas. By the 6th century, however, Roman Christians had tied Advent to the coming of Christ. But the “coming” they had in mind was not Christ’s first coming in the manger in Bethlehem, but his second coming in the clouds as the judge of the world. It was not until the Middle Ages that the Advent season was explicitly linked to Christ’s first coming at Christmas. — Justin Holcomb
Advent is a time of preparation, of being ready for Christ’s coming.It is a time of holding in tension both the joy of Christmas — that God became flesh and lived among us– and the anticipation of the parousia, when Christ will come again.
In that spirit of preparation, I invite you to begin using one of the resources for daily reflection available to us — The Society of Saint John the Evangelists’s Daily “Brother, Give us a Word” By subscribing (click here) you receive a daily sentence to reflect on.
May your Advent be peaceful and rich,
Blessings and love,