Father Ed's Reflections

Advent & Christmas

09 Dec 2016

ADVENT & CHRISTMAS

The worship of the Church during the Season of Advent brings numerous readings from the Prophets of the Old Testament that, in one way or another, echo the longing of Israel for the Messiah, the Saviour.  “The glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all will see the saving power of God.”  As Christians we sense the desire of God’s People of old expressed in heartfelt poetry and verse.  Christians enter into the time of waiting but the emphasis is different.  Israel awaited the Messiah, but the Word Incarnate came and his coming was not universally accepted as we read in the Prologue to St. John’s Gospel.

He was in the world
That had come to be through him.
He came to his own
And his own people did not accept him.

Yes, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, the time of waiting was over, it was the time of fulfilment.  As Christians await the celebration of the Birthday of Christ, the Advent readings help us to open our hearts in love and appreciation of all the Word Incarnate has done for us.  The Spirit has gifted us to believe in Christ and so become children of God.  A great privilege that calls us ever forward to live the same kind of life as Jesus did.  The more we ponder the Word of God, the more we endeavour with grace to walk in the footsteps of the Saviour, the more we become one with the Lord of all.

The greatest gift we can bring to our Christmas celebration is the gift of ourselves.  It is what we are that the Lord values, not wat we have.  The Saviour came in the humblest of circumstances so all may approach him knowing that they will be accepted.  To seek and find the Lord is to walk in truth and sense the freedom of the children of light.

In the greater number of nations in the world the period prior to Christmas becomes energised and all are busy with the buying of gifts, the coming together of families and friends, the expectation of vacations and rest.  One hopes that Christians remain conscious of an participate in the goodwill of these seasons and do not lose sight of the deeper meaning of Advent and Christmas.  The long-expected Saviour has come and God has visited his people.  The angels sand, “Peace on earth to those of goodwill.  Alas, peace is not everywhere present and the Good News of Christ remains for so many a dead letter.  This is a precious time of reflection especially on the Scriptures for Advent and Christmas and our ponderings may lead us to pray for peace on earth and, as the song proclaims, let it begin with me!

Almighty God and Father of Light,
A child is born for us and a son is given to us.
Your eternal Word leaped down from heaven
In the silent watches of the night,
And now your Church is filled with wonder
At the nearness of her God.
Open our hearts to receive his life,
And increase our vision at the rising of the dawn,
That our lives may be filled with his glory and his peace.


Wishing all who welcome the Birthday of the Lord a very joyful and peaceful Christmas

Fr Edward Wood SSS
St Francis' Church, 326 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, Vic, 3000

 

December 2004, Reprinted December 2016