Jill Whittingham: December 2015
What is the definition of Advent?
I duly found the following online: the arrival of a notable person or thing and the first season of the Church year, leading up to Christmas and including the four preceding Sundays.
Then I also discovered the following: "Scholars believe that during the 4th and 5th centuries in Spain and Gaul, Advent was a season of preparation for the baptism of new Christians at the January feast of Epiphany, the celebration of God's incarnation represented by the visit of the Magi to the baby Jesus, his baptism by John the Baptist and his first miracle at Cana.
During this season of preparation, Christians would spend 40 days in penance, prayer and fasting to prepare for this celebration. By the 6th century Roman Christians tied Advent to the coming of Christ as the judge of the world. It was not until the Middle Ages that the Advent season was explicitly linked to Christ's first coming at Christmas."
Other comments from people found online are "Advent is a great time to check and valuate ourselves as well to be ready for the coming of Christ" "A time to walk with Jesus more intimately and never forgetting the others who are walking with him in the common pilgrimage to the Kingdom of God"
I had also found this poem by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and this struck a chord with me of its significance and imagery.
He will come like last leaf's fall. One night when the November wind Has flayed the trees to bone, and earth Wakes choking on the mould, The soft shroud's folding. He will come like the frost. One morning when the shrinking earth Opens on mist, to find itself Arrested in the net Of alien, sword-set beauty. He will come like dark. One evening when the bursting red December sun draws up the sheet And penny-masks its eye to yield The star-snowed fields of sky. He will come, will come Will come crying in the night, Like blood, like breaking, As the earth writhes to toss him free. He will come like child.
However you are preparing during Advent may we take this time to think a little more about its true meaning.
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