Reflections by Jerry Webber

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Season of Advent

Sunday, November 28 is the First Sunday of Advent. I love this season of the year. Advent moves through mystery and hope toward the birth of Christ. Through the season of Advent I'll write daily meditations on the Scripture for the day at my blog site, A Daily Advent. The address is

“Church-time” begins with the season of Advent. The first Sunday of Advent marks the beginning of a new Church year. It comes after the long stretch that the Church calls “Ordinary Time.”

In the Church calendar, the season of Lent leads into Passion/Palm Sunday, then into Holy Week, culminating on Resurrection Sunday . . . or what we celebrate as Easter. Then we continue our Easter celebration until the Feast of Pentecost, which has both Old Testament and New Testament antecedents for Christians.

Ordinary Time begins after Pentecost, which usually occurs in late May or early June. Through the long summer and fall, we are invited to notice God in the ordinary, in the mundane. There are no special observances to heighten our attention, no Lents, Easters or Pentecosts. Life is ordinary. In the rhythm of the Church calendar, the year ends after this lengthy stretch of Ordinary Time.

But then Advent comes, and suddenly the waiting and ordinariness seems more purposeful. Advent signals that now we wait with an end in mind. It is not simply a season of “getting ready for Christmas.” Advent signals that it’s time to get in touch with our hopes and our longings, that we begin to open ourselves to what we most need. We notice our inner stirrings, that for which we most deeply hunger. We wait, often in darkness, in order to see great light.

Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas. It is colored in purples and pinks, and characterized by mystery, waiting, anticipation, and hope. The word "advent" literally signifies a coming or an entrance. Thus, this is not only the coming of a new Church year, but it is more so the coming or advent of God's most complete self-revealing, which will come as Christ is embodied in human life.

Through Advent God tends to invite us toward more reflective and mindful living. It is an appropriate invitation given the pace at which many of us will live over the next month. To journey toward Christmas with intention and awareness could be the most precious gift we give to ourselves and others through Advent.

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