Time indeed flies. We are already in the last month of 2017. Most editors, in print or electronic media, will start working on year-end reports to be delivered towards the end of the month. Report they surely will of the events gone past but will they ever be able to capture the time that has already fled and has become history? And that precisely is the reason why one must spend every living moment with the awareness of who we are and what is the meaning of our existence on earth, leading us to our creator.
Though the New Year is still about three weeks away, the Church has already entered into a “New Liturgical Year” last Sunday with what is known in the Christian terminology as the Advent season. Advent obviously means, “the coming”, which could be of something or of someone. And if it is December and if it is Christians who are speaking of “someone’s coming”, it is evident that we are talking of the “coming of Jesus” in the person of a little baby to be celebrated on 25th of this month.
Jesus Christ is the central figure of Christianity. Though with a different understanding, he is also given a place of honour in the Quran and is revered by Muslims too. Since Christians consider him as both their personal saviour and the saviour of the world, the Churches make extra efforts to prepare the believers spiritually for the event of his “coming”. This sacred period of Advent begins and includes the time between four Sundays before Christmas.
At the pain of being repetitive let me state that this time is dedicated purely to spiritual preparation of individuals and has nothing to do with Santa Claus, which the commercial world has all but succeeded in replacing with Jesus Christ.
Apart from celebrating his coming into this world with a special mission two thousand years ago, Christians await with eager expectation his second coming at the end of times. And to balance the two elements of remembrance and anticipation, the first two Sundays in Advent (through December 16) look forward to Christ’s second coming, and the last two Sundays (December 17-24) look backward to remember Christ’s first coming.
One of the popular customs during this time of Advent, particularly in Europe is to prepare an “Advent Wreath”, decorated with four candles representing the four Sundays. The candles represent Jesus as the light of the world. The Bible passages used in worship during Advent advice the faithful to look at our life in the light of Jesus the Messiah, which in turn would help us keep away from the dark effects of sin. May the Advent season help us all to mould our life in love after the example of love personified — Jesus.