Two lit candles on an Advent wreath. CNS photo/Octavio Duran

Editorial: ‘Come, Lord Jesus’

  • November 25, 2021

Life looks pretty promising at dawn. The sun is rising, the air a little crisper, the day ahead of us full of possibilities — a chance to start anew, hope for the best, maybe even fix yesterday’s problems or at least see them in a new light.

The same goes for the dawn of a new liturgical year. Advent makes the start of another journey of renewal in our faith, when we prepare ourselves in anticipation of a deeper relationship with God — and with each other.

Like many annual celebrations, there is a chance that its effect on us diminishes over the years as our secular world bombards us with the crush of end-of-year deadlines and frenzied gift shopping. We shouldn’t let that happen, of course, since we all can use a refresh on a personal level.

On a more macro level, we needn’t look far to see how Advent in this particular year is a much-needed salve for our souls and our collective Catholic psyche. The pandemic continues to haunt us; clerical sex abuse cases continue to emerge; and reconciliation efforts with Indigenous communities have been a source of much controversy and anxiety. Nothing will be resolved overnight, or even this Advent season, though the upcoming meetings between Indigenous delegations and Pope Francis in Rome gives us hope for a brighter tomorrow.

As we mention elsewhere on these pages, “Advent” comes from the Latin word adventus or “coming.” Quite literally, we are in a period of waiting for the coming of Jesus, just as the Jewish people in the Old Testament waited for the arrival of a messiah.

As the Catechism of the Catholic Church (524) teaches: “When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Saviour’s first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for His second coming.”

This is a season of preparation, reconciling ourselves with God and anticipating the joy that will come with the arrival of Jesus. In church, the Scriptures each week uncover pieces of the grand Christmas story: Isaiah and his prophecies of the Saviour to come, John the Baptist preaching his message of repentance, Luke’s Gospel relating the events leading up to Christ’s birth.

The physical signs are there to inspire us into reflection: the evergreen Advent wreath, its candles lighting our way out of darkness; the manger and the crib that awaits the Holy Child; the Christmas tree adorned with lights symbolizing the light the Saviour brings to the world. The spirit of the season should carry us well beyond the next four weeks.

As Pope Francis said last year, Advent is “the season for remembering the closeness of God who came down to dwell in our midst.”

“Let us make the traditional Advent prayer our own: ‘Come, Lord Jesus,’ ” he said. “We can say it at the beginning of each day and repeat it often, before our meetings, our studies and our work, before making decisions, in every important or difficult moment of our lives: ‘Come, Lord Jesus.’ ”

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