Thought for the week: The glory and richness of the season of Advent

​​The season of Advent is underway. It still challenges and enriches me. From my Sunday School days there is the legacy of Londonderry bishop's wife Cecil Frances Alexander, who wrote her hymns to help youngsters grasp the fundamentals of their faith… "Advent tells us Christ is near…Christmas tells us Christ is here.. At Epiphany.."
​Rev Dr Houston McKelvey OBE, Church of Ireland​Rev Dr Houston McKelvey OBE, Church of Ireland
​Rev Dr Houston McKelvey OBE, Church of Ireland

​​Then came the insights that Advent came from a Latin verb to come. Christ came and he would come again. Old Testament scriptures were used in trying to shape a vision of what the second coming of Christ could be like. For many, there came an awareness that the Advents of Christ could be in how we interacted with our neighbour. Did we behave as the old text in most farm kitchens of my childhood stated - as though “Christ is the silent guest at every meal, the silent listener to every conversation".

I take comfort in the fact that John the Baptist and Jesus’ own disciples from time to time found difficulty in understanding the scope and depth of his comments even to his assertion that the Messiah would have to die to enable his post-resurrection advent to come in power, glory and judgment. There is plenty for any would-be follower of Christ to think about during this Advent season - repentance, acceptance, God’s love and forgiveness to name a few.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

As we live through yet another period of war in Ukraine and Gaza, the timing of Christ’s first advent once again hits home. Blame the A level English literature course of my time and 'Wee Joe', our exceptional teacher. He rode into school on an ancient bike with an old leather school satchel lopsided on the spring loaded pillion bracket.

From it he introduced us to ‘The decline and fall of the Roman Empire’ by Edward Gibbon. In superb language that author described how the civilised world around the Med was united from Hadrian’s Wall to the southern boundary of the Sahara, and from the gates of Gibraltar to almost the Tigris-Euphrates basin.

The season of Advent ends with the words ‘Christ came in the fulness of time’. I agree. I also believe firmly it was the start of unquantifiable millions of advents in the lives of those who have truly met Him

Related topics: