As we age, it seems that time passes very swiftly; of course, time runs its proper course, it is only our perception that is altered. Still, I am somewhat surprised that the Advent Season is upon us. For me, Advent is both special and enchanting. In our northern climate Advent arrives on the threshold of Winter. The hours of daylight are less; air is colder; the bright leaves of autumn and the seasonal flowers are gone. Nature is experiencing death and Christian people are anticipating the celebration of the Saviour’s birth. And we mark our anticipation with lights, colourful decoration, special music, and intentional time for reflection.
The noble words of the prayer for Advent Sunday invite us to ask God’s grace to enable God’s people to “cast away the works of darkness, put on the armour of light and rise to life immortal”. We may wish to celebrate the the birth of the Saviour but there is much that could block any celebration, for this is a dark side in all of us—a part of us that is a jumble of confusions, fear, unresolved anger, insecurity, hatred and jealousy. These sap our energy and compromise our creativity. Advent bids us to celebrate and God’s grace can enable us to discard that which would destroy us and keep us from realizing joy.
God’s Grace (love) gives us strength to cast off those works (behaviours) that shut out the light of God’s Glory and the invitation to share in holy celebration. God’s love is an armour of light—a protection against the destroying nature of evil. God’s Grace is love which casts out fear. It allows us to be illuminated by the hope, joy, and clarity of the Holy One who comes to be part of our human condition.
Advent is a season of new beginnings—a time to enjoy God’s presence in our lives; a time to discard the jumble that gets in the way of heart-felt welcome and joy. Advent is a time to envelop ourselves in the light of God’s love.
give us grace to cast away the works of darkness
and put on the armour of light,
now in the time of this mortal life
in which your Son Jesus Christ
came to us in great humility,
that on the last day,
when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
to judge both the living and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.