Posted by: dowsmallgroups | 18/11/2010

Our very own advent

The four weeks of waiting and preparation before the Nativity of Our Lord at Christmas can be a very blessed time. All too frequently, however, we can put off thinking about anything because we don’t want Christmas to come too early, or, as is commonly experienced, we can set our eyes firmly on the 25 December with no thought to what the four weeks of Advent (Latin for ‘coming’) can mean.

Waiting is tough. Hardly anyone I know enjoys waiting; impatience seems to be universally present in this age of instant messaging. Whereas before we may have browsed books looking for an answer, finding unexpected nuggets at every turn of a page, now we enter the question on a search engine and get the pertinent information straight away. Gone is the joy of the journey, all that matters is the arrival.

With Advent, we have an enforced period of waiting. We can’t make Christmas come any sooner and so have to learn to deal with our impatience. As I write, my wife and I are expecting the arrival of a new baby. Again, we can’t make this come any sooner, God has allotted the date and time and we have to learn to wait. Our other children are learning that some things are not instantaneous, that a frisson of excitement exists in our own little advent.

As well as reminding us of the original waiting for the birth of their Messiah by the Hebrews, Advent is a time of preparation for Christ coming again in glory (Advent is a translation of the Greek word parousia, commonly used to describe the Second Coming). Thoughts too turn to Our Lady as we remember her waiting for the birth of her child. This Advent the Holy Father has asked us to remember the value of the unborn child as we await the Nativity of the boy, conceived in Mary’s womb and who grew up to die on the Cross for the salvation of all.

Advent is, indeed, the right time to remember the Blessed Virgin Mary. Lambert Beauduin once wrote that the time par excellence for Christian people’s Marian devotion ‘is the cycle of Advent and Christmas. For it is in the expectation of God’s ancient people, at the manger, at Nazareth, in short in all the mysteries of the hidden life, that Our Lady appears to us in all the exaltation of her providential mission and in the shining light of her Divine Motherhood, in all her glories.’ During Advent we recall her preparations for her first-born, her expectations for his life and the change in her own. What a change, for Mary and all humanity, was rung by the angel Gabriel’s announcement, what remarkable faith was shown by Our Lady in her acceptance of God’s gift.

So, my wife and I are still waiting for our own little God-given gift, as we enter into Advent. The preparations have been made, bags packed and arrangements finalised, all that’s left is more joyful waiting – at least with Christmas you know the date!

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Responses

  1. […] For those of you wondering about our new arrival (see blog entry ‘Our very own advent‘), she is a girl called Anna – a name which means God’s […]


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