Sunday marks the beginning of the season of Advent. The liturgical colour in the chapel has been changed from the green of Ordinary Time to the purple of Advent. Our Advent wreath awaits the lighting of its first candle. Pupils and students in both the Prep and Senior schools will be reflecting on the significance of Advent next week.
The season of Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas. It provides a countdown to Christmas, easily illustrated by Advent calendars, literally marking off the passage of time from the beginning of the season to its end. For some of us it gives a sense of urgency … better get on with buying and wrapping presents … better write and send cards … better organise a food order … better put up decorations.
All these things are important, because without preparation no celebration will go as well as it could, no celebration will be fully enjoyed. Preparation is necessary, and Advent is a time of preparation for Christmas.
It would be easy to think though of Advent as merely a means to an end, with us looking forward only to the end of Advent, because at the end of Advent is Christmas. It would be a missed opportunity to regard Advent in this way.
Amongst the excitement of getting our homes and our families ready for Christmas, Advent provides an invitation for us to prepare our own hearts to welcome the birth of Christ. Advent provides the invitation for us to reflect on the extraordinary and immense gift of Christmas time – that God chose to become man; that out of love for us God chose to live on earth.
Just as we prepare the important practicalities, it is also important to prepare our hearts and to give ourselves the time and space to encounter God’s love – the love that when Christmas day comes will say, Christ is born for YOU.
Advent is the time for ensuring that Christ is at the heart of Christmas.
Wishing every blessing during the season of Advent.