Prepare the way of the Lord. Mark 1:3
In the wasteland may the Glory shine
In the land of the lost may the King make his home.
For Celtic Christians the time before Christmas, (known as Advent which means the Coming), is a period of preparation, as we repent and wait in hope for the coming Return of Christ. This period used to be known as a second Lent. Fasting was less severe, but people carved out time to go apart and wait on God. C Could we make it our aim to dispel the spirit of restlessness and acquisition, and to instil the spirit of wonder, warning and waiting during this period?
What did those Celtic Christians focus their minds on during these weeks, and what should we focus our minds on? God prepared for the birth of Christ within his people, through prophets. Many of them lived in simplicity as a sign that they were waiting for God to fulfil his promises. As we meditate on their lives and words we, too, hear the call to live lives of simplicity as a sign. Then we think about the witnesses at the time of Christ’s birth, Mary and Joseph, Elizabeth and Zechariah, Anna and Simeon, whose waiting was joyful and humble.
This is also a time for thinking about what the universe, humanity, and ourselves are coming to, and about the four last things of death, giving account, eternal bliss, and separation.
At heart, this should be a time of waiting in contemplation of the presence of Christ within us; for we are called, like Mary to be bearers of Christ now and into the future. In the coming days the readings will focus on these things.
Calm us to wait for the gift of Christ;
cleanse us to prepare the way for Christ;
teach us to contemplate the wonder of Christ;
touch us to know the presence of Christ;
anoint us to bear the life of Christ.