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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

29 November 2017: Sylvia Roberts, St Peter's Church, Petersfield

It’s Coming! It’s Coming!

How’s your Latin? “Ad Venire” (ad = to, venire = to come) is the Latin root for our word “advent” which is used routinely in such sentences as, “Our business has improved greatly since the advent of the Internet,” but comes into its own at this time of year when we see Advent calendars on sale in the shops with twenty four little doors to be opened, one on each day of December leading up to the Great Day of Christmas. We celebrate the season of Advent in our churches, looking forward to, and preparing for, the great festival of Christmas.

This coming Sunday is Advent Sunday when many churches will have an Advent Wreath as their centrepiece. This is a ring of evergreen – maybe ivy, holly and fir – with four new candles standing north, south, east and west around the ring. Each candle represents one of the Sundays of the Advent season. This Sunday the first candle will be lit and on subsequent Sundays each of the other candles will be lit one by one until on Christmas Eve a new, tall, white candle appears in the centre of the ring and is lit as we celebrate Christ, the Light of the World, being born.

Like life itself, where joy and sadness, darkness and light are experienced in each lifetime and in every family, the Advent season is not only happy and celebratory but also has a deeper and more sombre side. Our churches invite us to reflect upon the time when we shall meet Our Lord again and to consider how we may see ourselves before him in the light of the life we have led, the decisions we have made and the choices we have selected… so Advent is a thoughtful preparation time of quiet contemplation and a drawing in of breath as well as an excited anticipatory time. Some people choose Advent as the time for making New Year resolutions.


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