The writer Charles Peguy once wrote “The faith that I choose is hope.” But it is a hope that is far different from resignation. The journey
we make during Advent which begins on Sunday the 2nd. December, is a patient descent into the depths to discover the hidden seed that has already yielded so much fruit in the soil of men and women. From the ruins of Jerusalem to the birth in humility
in Bethlehem, from exile in the desert to baptism in the desert, everything spurs us on to go further.
There are three stages on this journey: the season of the future, the time when Isaiah expresses
the appeal made by the God who always remembers us in love not in judgement; the time of the forerunner, when the prophet calls us out into the desert to show us the Bridegroom, the God of the covenant, and the time of giving birth, when the Spirit enfolds
and encloses the virgin and barren woman so that the source of love and grace that we have hoped for and have been promised will flow.
Advent begins with pronouncements of a political restoration and ends with our
gazing at a king who is gentle and humble in heart. If we are truly immersed in God’s word this season of Advent, hope is everywhere, a fragile yet strong presence, a vulnerable child, unarmed and unprotected, a future with God’s grace and goodness
that is always being reborn! Related to these three stages is the equally important truth that at this time we also reflect particularly on the three comings of Christ.
His coming in history
Our Lord Jesus Christ came in history. This is, of course, the coming that drove the dreams of the faithful people of Israel, who had waited so eagerly and so long for the coming of the Messiah. What we try to do as the Church in Advent, in a small
way, is to consolidate those centuries of waiting into four short weeks. And we are reminded that God takes his sweet old time in fulfilling his promises. What we actually mean by Christ coming in history is that at a specific time and place, God became Man
and entered the human drama. This is called the Incarnation — that is, Our Lord’s coming in history. Advent can be a great time to recollect our utter dependence and need for God made man, who has broken into the history of the world, to save us.
His coming in majesty
Christ will come again in glory — that is an essential part of our faith. That is his coming in majesty. Advent is a great time to reflect on that, to
remember it and to prepare for it. Everything here in life, as beautiful and as wonderful as it is, is only a hint of what awaits us when Christ comes in majesty at the end of time. Nothing is permanent here, and we look forward to the day when Christ will
come and usher in his everlasting reign.
His coming in mystery
He comes to us when we celebrate the sacraments - and especially every time we celebrate the Holy Eucharist,
a holy mystery indeed, when the Word becomes flesh for us and for our salvation.
God bless you on your Advent journey.