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An invitation to Advent

Updated: Dec 3, 2020

Alongside the videos we will be posting every Sunday of Advent, we will also offer a brief mid-week meditation here, with art to help us engage with the spirituality of this season. Advent is a time of seeing the darkness so that we can welcome the light, of understanding and grieving our own desperation so that when hope arrives, in the person of Jesus, we are able to recognise it.

It's not necessarily a pleasant endeavour. We all mostly prefer to ignore our own and others' pain—not because we are callous, heartless people (although perhaps we are at times) but because really taking in the struggle inside and around us is overwhelming. It's too much. We cannot bear all that anguish. We tend to numb ourselves to survive, to function, to be able to handle the world. The problem is that all this pain and struggle—all the injustice and insensitivity and heartbreak—doesn't go away just because we can't look at it. And somewhere, deep down, we all know that.

So Advent is a time for honesty—a time to admit that it hurts and that we can't handle it. A time to let the truth be what it is, in all its devastation.

But Advent is also a time for hope. We wade into the grievous depths of truth because we know we are not alone. We know that rescue is coming. Jesus shows up in our world as a baby and promises to return as the Risen Lord because our God is not content to leave us in the darkness. Because for all our failings and faults, for all the pain we cause each other and fail to prevent, we are each, uniquely and entirely, precious. God shows up for us. When we least expect it, when our hope is nearly gone, God finds a way into our mess and starts the business of making things right. That is the promise of Advent. Are things all better? No. But we hold on to the promise that they will be, and let it give us courage to walk into the darkness of our hearts and world as children of light.

Image: Mary by Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1914

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