Advent means “coming”. For many, this poignant time of waiting and expectation has disolved into a frantic rush. This video, made a few years ago at Grailville, Loveland, Ohio, during its crèche exhibition, expresses a lot about how I feel about this precious season.
Alas, these days I also participate, more than I would like, in the madness of the Christmas commercial season, while still trying to stay in touch with the magnificent readings from Isaiah and sense of quiet expectation and reasonable preparation. This is what the Advent season is meant to help us live.
Liturgically, Advent is a special season to prepare our hearts for the fuller coming of the divine into the earth, in “history, mystery and Majesty”. The Incarnation, enfleshing of God is a critical new step. The readings in our Catholic liturgy for each day, and some fabulous meditations put out by Pax Christi USA, tying this time with the works needed for a just and peaceful world, have helped keep much of this in front of me. As I bustle around, the mystery of “not-yetness”, “pregnancy” and “expectation” of a time when “peace and justice embrace” is still there to the extent I open myself.
I also live in the northern hemisphere where the natural world also celebrates the end of our annual increase of darkness and light begins to grow again. In 2014 the winter solstice is on December 21, 6:03 P.M. if you are in Eastern standard Time. The Christmas date was chosen in Rome as the liturgical year was developed because of the belief, that Jesus is the cosmic Christ, and light of the world. Therefore it seemed appropriate to celebrate his birth in flesh along with the ancient celebration of the new cycle of growing light.
I had the privilege, rare for a young woman outside a convent, to have lived intensely the deep mystery of Advent darkness and longing, in quiet, song, manual work and prayer, while waiting for the natural light to begin to grow again. At Christmas we would then begin this annual celebration of the growing of the light celebrating more and more fully until Epiphany (the manifestation of divinity). That’s what those 12 Days of Christmas are all about, an increasing celebration of the wedding of God with creation and our very flesh.
“A WONDROUS EXCHANGE…”
Thank you David Miller and Loveland Magazine for your kind permission to use this video. You can watch the original on their link as well as here. www.lovelandmagazine.com © 2012.