First Sunday of Advent

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praying the Advent wreath

Ordinary Time ends today and Advent begins. You can learn how to pray the Advent wreath and keep other Advent customs with our book.

There’s a certain rebellious quality to Advent, a kind of crazy defiance of the physical facts. In the northern hemisphere people rise in the darkness and come home in the darkness. And, as dark as it is when Advent begins, it will grow darker still, right up until the winter solstice, the shortest day and the longest night of the year.

The weather seems to match the news. Nuclear weapons in the large nations and floods of guns and rocket launchers in the smaller ones. We hear of wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes and tsunamis, famines and plagues. Darkness, it would appear, is growing and spreading and vanquishing the light.

The Lord will make the darkest places bright.

Just then, at the darkest time of the year, Christians light candles and string lights and sing songs about “Jesus Christ, the light of the world, a light no darkness can extinguish.”

It is not that we are blind. We know the darkness of these days. We know the darkness of death, the death of illness and isolation and fear.

But we are people of hope. We are people who know a deeper truth: Christ is our hope, our light, our shelter, and our salvation. We sing with the psalmist David, “O Israel, hope in the Lord/ both now and forever.”

We cry with the prophet, Isaiah, “Trust in the Lord forever! For the Lord is an eternal rock.”

We proclaim, in the words of the monastic liturgy,

The Lord will come soon, will not delay.

The Lord will make the darkest places bright.

Marana tha. Come, Lord Jesus.