Advent in some parts of Christianity is still a “little Lent.” Time to pray more and even fast a little. In others, there are calendars with daily doses of chocolate. If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s a dark time and it gets darker as you go along. A contrast, for sure, with the preparations at hand—doesn’t it feel “Grinchy” to hold back from stringing up Christmas lights just about now? Especially since the shops have been decorated for this holiday for weeks… some since before Hallowe’en.
“During Advent,” write our colleagues at Loyola Press, “we eagerly anticipate the coming of Christ. However, we are not waiting for Jesus to be born—that event occurred over two thousand years ago. While we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus that has occurred, we also use the season of Advent to anticipate The Second Coming.”
Here are a few resources for your own Advent, to help you explore this season of waiting.
There are still a few places at the parish Advent Quiet Day on Saturday, December 3.
Advent begins at the Cathedral with the great ceremony of the Advent Procession With Carols, 4 pm on December 4.
Other resources can be found online
#AdventWord is the world’s first crowd-sourced global Advent Calendar. Sign up to receive a different word and meditation each day by email. Pray on it, respond with an image on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, and enjoy discovering others’ images and ideas. #Adventword was created by the Society of Saint John the Evangelist; Virginia School of Theology came onboard as a production partner in 2017.
Pray As You Go offers daily Bible meditations in audio form; Sacred Space offers daily scripture meditations in print form in 23 languages. For Advent 2017 these two sites joined forces to provide a 4-session weekly Advent Retreat in audio and print form (9 languages—le français se trouve ici).
Sign up for as little as $1.00 (US) for a two-hour webcast by James Finley on “The Dark Night of the Soul” by Saint John of the Cross, produced by the Centre for Action and Contemplation. It will be webcast on Thursday evening, December 14, and available to those who subscribe for replays during the following month
Oh, night that guided me,
Oh, night more lovely than the dawn,
Oh, night that joined Beloved with lover,
Lover transformed in the Beloved!
—St. John of the Cross
This teaching is intended to help us “navigate periods of darkness and doubt, deepening our desire for and openness to union with Love.”
Finally, here’s an essay on waiting, and some other links.