There is an Advent calendar on our website 'Home' page.
Advent is a time when we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas and when we renew our desire for His second coming at the end of time. We should be praying to God for the theological gift of hope that comes from of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and the renewal of that gift in our lives. Hope is essential to the Christian life – it gives us joy, energy, enthusiasm; it makes us smile; it puts a spring in our step; it assures us that with God the impossible can be possible, that obstacles can be overcome, that the gloom can be transformed into light. More, it is hope that enables us to glimpse the joy of our true home in heaven. The weekly reflections below can help us on our journey of faith.
WEEK 1 OF ADVENT
William Holman Hunt, “The Light of the World,” 1851
At the start of Advent, the Gospel calls us to vigilance—to watch and be ready for the Lord of the house, awaiting his return. The Light of the World is deeply symbolic, showing Christ arriving at a door at night. It’s an allegory for Christ seeking entry at the door of the human heart. A crowned and robed stately sovereign, Christ the King ventures into the darkness and the mess of brambles to seek entry into our hearts. One of the boldest symbols of the image is the lantern Christ holds in his left hand, which shows Christ as the One that disperses the dark and illuminates the dead places within our hearts.
WEEK 2 OF ADVENT
Pieter Brueghel the Younger, “St. John the Baptist Preaching,” 1601
The voice of John the Baptist crying out in the wilderness and gathering great crowds invites us into the Second Sunday of Advent. Pieter Brueghel the Younger’s St. John the Baptist Preaching captures this moment as he presents a wooded wilderness embracing a colourful crowd. Brueghel shows not only the mix of people that might have been present in the region, but the great diversity of all of humankind as the intended recipients of the Good News that John is heralding. John prepares the way of the Lord to go beyond boundaries, starting with the colourful cavalcade of people who come to hear the prophetic message.
WEEK 3 OF ADVENT
Anton Raphael Mengs, “Saint John the Baptist Preaching,” circa 1775
Anton Raphael Mengs’ Saint John the Baptist Preaching brings us face-to-face with John, as he addresses us with expressive gestures. Mengs’ portrayal is intensely psychological, inviting us to encounter John’s deep conviction, prophetic presence, and sense of urgency. St. John’s intercession is as intense as his preaching was—a voice that is still crying out with urgency, this time for the Lord’s Second Coming. His urgent voice comes before God filled with love for the Body of Christ, a love that seeks desperately to rouse this Body to readiness.
WEEK 4 OF ADVENT
John Collier, “The Annunciation,” 2000
John Collier’s contemporary depiction of the Annunciation brings the story of Mary’s encounter with the angel Gabriel into our present reality. We see Mary and the angel face-to-face, Mary holding a book as a symbol of her piety. We see the lily as a symbol of her purity, the painted window as a symbol of her virginity, and the dove perching in the background as the symbol of the Holy Spirit. The angel-as-server is a beautiful reflection of Christ’s bodily presence in our midst, first welcomed through the faithful “yes” of Mary. Like Mary, we are called to say “yes” to this moment and offer ourselves to await his arrival.
Geertgen tot Sint Jans, “The Birth of Christ,” circa 1490
In his painting The Birth of Christ, Geertgen tot Sint Jans tells the story of the Nativity through faces surrounded by the play of light and dark. The infant Christ is a heavenly body, radiating his light onto those who surround the manger, a true light of the human race whose radiance scatters the darkness. His radiance brightens the face of Mary his mother and the angels paying him homage. The young faces lit up by the radiance of Christ invite us to be one of them, to accept Christ and know that we are beloved children of God. Christ comes in the most powerless image of all—a naked infant nestled in a trough. Behold the Word whose power brings us life.