Tuesday 29th November - 1st week of Advent

 

At the start of Advent, I  feel  like someone who is travelling, not on a train but on a hand-pumped buggy, alone  in a long dark tunnel at the end of which there is a mere pinprick of light.

 

No ideas for Christmas.  What shall I give people?  Should I even look at goodies in the shops which all exploit someone and lead towards planet destruction?  Will we be welcome with our family on Christmas Day?  What if we old people spoil it for them because of their sense of duty?  It is so dark and miserable outside.  I haven’t even thought about Christmas cards.  

 

I shared these anxieties and immediately they receded.  Is it too fanciful to call them demons, which vanish when one forces them into the light?  None of this trivia matters.   The buggy trundles on, not powered by me alone.  I will get there and all will be well.  Christ is coming.  We will meet anew at the end of the tunnel.

Anna Franks

STORY OF THE NATIVITY
Stencil Print by SADAO WATANABE, JAPAN

Wednesday 30th November - 1st week of Advent - St Andrew

 

Come, Lord, Come!

We are waiting, Lord:

Waiting for you to rupture the veil in our hearts,

To allow the you living in us to break free,

To overflow, to pour out,

To wash out of us everything that is not of you;

To sluice away the selfishness, the bitterness, the pride;

To leave a gentle spring bubbling up,

And a limpid pool of peace and love

In which the world sees a clear reflection of you.

 

We are longing, Lord:

Longing for you to rupture the veil in our world,

To tear down division, hatred, oppression and war;

To allow the dove of peace to hover over us;

To allow the Holy Spirit to wholly guide us

Into ways of understanding, co-operation, sympathy and love,

In a world filled with bird-song and gentle breeze,

Laughter, dancing, truth and peace.

 

I am waiting, Lord; I am longing, Lord:

Waiting to have the trust to let you rupture the veil in me;

Longing to have the courage to rupture others’ veils with you;

Longing and waiting for you.

Come, Lord, come!

 

© Angela Jordan

© Angela Jordan

Monday 28th November - 1st week of Advent

 

A friend once told me that she really wanted to move her celebration of Christmas to another date – perhaps Epiphany – as all the preparation and work involved in the material side of Christmas got in the way of the ‘real meaning of Christmas’.  While I can sympathize with this viewpoint, I feel uneasy about any celebration of the Incarnation that wants to put a division between ‘spiritual’ and ‘material’.

What we are celebrating at Christmas is God taking on human form – becoming like us in all our neediness; helpless, like all babies, dependent on others to feed and change him, keep him warm and safe. We would feel immensely privileged if we had the opportunity, by some miracle, to provide practical care for Jesus, as Mary and Joseph did…. and yet we do have that chance, as we care for those around us, our family and friends, and also those in need, this Christmas.

Elizabeth Serpell

Nativity Three

Painting by Kate Cosgrove, USA

Image from Fine Art America

Sunday 27th November - 1st Sunday of Advent

 

God shows his total love for us by taking human form. In this season of Advent we prepare a space for him so that on Christmas we can lay him in the manger of our hearts. It is a small and humble dwelling where He comes to lay His precious head, and our one response is to adore Him. I pray that we may have a blessed Advent season and that we may lift up our hearts and voices in praise like the angels did that first Christmas night. I pray especially that this may be a time when the love of Jesus enters into the hearts of all men and women especially in places of war, hunger and strife. Come let us adore Him!

Adam Simon

Eglise St Roch in Paris - Click to enlarge

© Adam Simon

For this year’s online Community Advent Calendar we are inviting you to contribute short written reflections (maximum 150 words) on any aspect of Advent or Christmas. These will then appear on this page day by day during Advent, so that you will have some daily spiritual input as you prepare for Christmas.   To be part of this, email Peter Agius (laybenedictines@gmail.com).  If you would like your reflection to go out on a specific date, let Peter know that at the same time, and/or fill in the sign-up sheet.  If you can include a picture with your contribution that would be lovely too, but is not essential.  Let us create something together that will bring joy to our community during the season of Advent.

Elizabeth Serpell - Spirituality & Formation Team

robert-thiemann-qHVqCxmAWd0-unsplash.jpg
 
Hiking Trail

As we progress in this way of life and in faith, we shall run on the path of God’s commandments, our hearts overflowing with the inexpressible delight of love.