Advent reminds us of the three dimensions of every liturgical celebration: It recalls the past, in the present for the sake of what is to come.
When the celebration of Christmas developed in Rome about the fourth century, there emerged awareness that a time of preparation for the Feast of the Birth of Jesus was appropriate, just as for the celebration of His Resurrection. Indeed, the seasons of nature paralleled the two events with the Winter Solstice representing the sun’s victory over darkness and the Vernal Equinox …the emergence of new life, symbolizing the Son’s victory over death.
So Advent, then, is a time for remembering, watchfulness and expectation; the past, the present and what is to come. The bursting forth of God into the world at the Incarnation can never be seen as a solitary event, but certainly as the first step on the road to redemption that includes Jesus’ life, Passion, Death, Resurrection, Ascension and Return in Glory.
As we prepare for the birth of the Holy Infant we must never forget that it is the beginning of the cycle that will climax with the Second Coming, the mystery of faith that is proclaimed in the new Roman Missal: “We proclaim your Death, O Lord and profess your Resurrection until you come again.”
So as we again recall the timeless cycle of salvation, let us spend this Advent in a spirit of watchfulness, expectation and hope.
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