Preparing for Christmas 2015. From the writings of Thomas Keating
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through Him, and without Him nothing came to be. What came to be through Him was life, and this life was the light of the humand race. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:1 – 5
Come, Lord Jesus, Come.
There is something wonderous and expectant about the very word ‘Advent.’ In the northern hemisphere, the weather is cold, sometimes bitterly so. There is no doubt that winter is in the air. The days are growing shorter, the darkness longer. The trees stand stark and and bare. All living things have dug their roots deep into the earth for sustenance and protection.The forest animals hibernate. People move inside out of the cold.
Just as nature moves deep inside, so too are we invited to turn inward during this blessed time of preparation for the Lord’s coming. This inner preparation , nourished by prayer, silence, scripture and the sacred music and rituals of the season, is essential if we are to celebrate in a manner worthy of the holy commenoration of our Lord’s birth.
Advent is a quiet, contemplative time of waiting for the Light, the Light who came to be the light of the whole human race. The Light through whom we are given life, rescuing us from the great darkness and hopelessness and frentic rushing of this time. It is a very special season, indeed, linking the historical coming of the promised Messiah with the coming of Christ into our own hearts and the coming of Christ again at the end of time. It is a time to dig deeply into ourselves and feed the very essence of our being with the food of new life, renewed faith and enlivened hope.
The Eastern Christian tradition sees the Advent season as a time of waiting for the light that will first shine forth at Christmas and reach its peak on Epiphany, the feast of Ligths. This beautiful text of Isaiah is proclaimed during the liturgy of the season:
Rise up in splendor!
Your light has come,
the glory of the Lord shines upon you…
Upon you the Lord shines, and over you appears His glory.
Isaiah 60: 1 – 2