REFLECTION FOR THE FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT (YEAR A) Week beginning 27TH NOVEMBER 2022
This Sunday is the first day of the Church’s New Year. The Holy Advent Season comprises two distinct phases – in 2022, Phase 1 lasts from 27th November up to 16th December inclusive. “Watch!” and “Stay awake!” is its double exhortation to us. A real sense of spiritual preparation ahead! From 17th December, there is an 8-day spell where the exhortation is quite different. It is to “Rejoice!” It is as though Christmas Day is being drawn back to oneself, albeit one day at a time. The right to “Rejoice!” is quite logical. If we have prepared spiritually during the 20 days of Phase 1, we have earned the right to “Rejoice” in the 8 days of Phase 2. So, we can surely see how structured is the Holy Season of Advent. We do so need such a structure. Otherwise there may be a very real temptation to succumb to the advertising world’s ‘injunction’ to prioritise shopping for 7 days a week.
The sheer wonder and true meaning of the Holy Season of Christmas has every right to demand of us a proper preparation period – for every Christmas celebrates the greatest event ever to happen in human history – all the way from the Creation of the world, right up to the end date for the world – a date and time only known to God the Father Himself – as made clear by Jesus Himself. Such an event was the birth of God’s Son as our Saviour and Redeemer. So Christmas is seen to point straightaway to the Holy Season of Easter which is an even greater Feast liturgically, notwithstanding that Christmas is perceived larger in social terms. In reality, of course, Christmas & Easter are inextricably linked – this is why Phase 1 of Advent has close links with the Holy Season of Lent. Although it is not as penitential as Lent, both Advent & Lent share the same liturgical colour – Purple.
Let us determine to embrace the Holy Season of Advent. Let us commit to preparing in a spiritual way in its Phase 1, so that we can be justifiably joyful in its Phase 2.