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December 02, 2007

Advent Sunday

Last Sunday I worshipped in Mainz Dom, this week I am home again in my familiar setting of the Abbey. The two buildings are not that different in scale, but very different in character. Mainz's red sandstone and small windows tend to make it darker inside than the Abbey is usually, but what really counts is how the two buildings are used.

Today is Advent Sunday, the start of the preparation period for Christmas. It is generally a sombre season liturgically for the focus, preparation, is for the coming of Christ's Kingdom on Earth. As the gospel tells us, we do not know the hour or the day on which that will come and that is probably just as well. In this day and age the lead up to Christmas for most is anything but a spiritual journey - it is a very material one. Christmas Cards to be found and sent, presents to be bought and wrapped, decorations to be put up and masses of food to be acquired, prepared and consumed on the day itself. That is a great shame, for the season deserves more attention and Christmas itself should be celebrated with more foicus on the Babe and less on the fact that it provides an excuse to overindulge on every front.

Advent reminds us of the journey in faith which we must make if we are to fully appreciate the import of that infant whose birth so changed the world. As St John wrote; "The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us; the only begotten of the father, full of grace and truth."

But our modern approach to Christmas is sadly, the very epitome of the statement from the same author - "He was in the world, and though the world was made by Him, the world did not recognise Him." Well, some did, though it took them a while too, and thanks to them we now celebrate that event. Let us hope that it can be recovered for those who do believe and become once more, a season for celebrating the arrival in the world of its saviour.

When God set out to save us from ourselves, He didn't send a committee and He certainly didn't send us a politician. He sent His one and only Son, the Word Incarnate.

Posted by The Gray Monk at December 2, 2007 02:48 PM