Christmas season has begun! Am I ready? No, I’m not. But today at church the sermon really touched my heart and now my focus is back on track. It is so easy to get distracted with “all the trimmings”! It will be a challenge for me, I know, as I can really try to do too much. This year my goal is to be conscious of everything I do during this Season of Advent and to focus on what is really important.
I was quite fortunate enough last year to see a wonderful display of Nativity sets (Christmas Crib/Creche). They belong to one of our lovely priests who has amassed them from all around the world. I have included a few (O.K., way more than a few!) pictures of them below. They are as beautiful and diverse as the different cultures from which they come! I’ve also included a little information about what Advent is all about for those who don’t celebrate Christmas and would like to know.
I wish you a blessed advent season!
First Sunday of Advent
The word Advent is derived from the Latin adventus, which means “coming” and refers to the four-week period of preparation for Christmas. Adventus is in turn a Latin translation of the Greek word parousia, which refers to the future coming or return of Jesus. During the Season of Advent we contemplate two different comings of Jesus into our world. The first refers to his birth over 2000 years ago in Bethlehem. The second refers to his future return in glory as judge at the end of time.
The theme of the readings during Advent is the preparation for Jesus’ second coming at the end of time, while remembering his birth in Bethlehem.
There are many things in life to keep our attention fixed on the here and now – economic challenges, the scandals in church and state, our efforts at trying to make ends meet, along with all the other day-to-day cares of living.
When the huge tsunami devastated north-eastern Japan in April 2011, the Japanese national soccer team came up with a slogan to encourage their suffering people. It read: “With hope we can cope.” The Season of Advent calls for our hope-filled attention. It reminds us that, as daunting as our day-to-day worries are, we ultimately place our hope in the ever-loving and compassionate God. That is why with all Christians down through the ages we can cry out again in the Aramaic language of Jesus: “Mara tha, Come , O Lord.”
Reality Magazine, November 2014