This Advent calendar is suitable for adults. There is another version in the 'Youth' section for children.
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More reflections on Advent and Christmas are available below the calendar.
WEEK 1 OF ADVENT
Arts and Faith invites you to take a deeper look at the Scriptures through artwork. Reflect, during Advent, from some of the work of great artists. In the first week of Advent, you can get some inspiration from Michelangelo Buonarroti's “Isaiah” Sistine Chapel detail, dated between 1477–83.
As a prophet, Isaiah calls others to an insight that reveals God’s grace in our lives, “a moment of inspiration.” He was a prophet who accepted God’s call to share the Good News, and in his time, that meant travelling great distances to speak to others.
WEEK 2 OF ADVENT
Absolon Stumme, “Hamburg Altar (The Tree of Jesse),” 1499 is the inspiration for the reflection for the second week of Advent. Absolon Stumme’s 1499 altarpiece presents a mystical depiction of one of Advent’s key symbols - the tree of Jesse. Jesse’s tree is a royal symbol: a lineage flourishing from Jesse through David down the centuries to the birth of Christ, our King of Kings. The tree that sprouts out from him is like a dream, a vision of hope for justice, peace, and faithfulness to reign over the suffering, turmoil, and despair of our world. What hopes do you have as we await Christ’s coming this Advent?
WEEK 3 OF ADVENT
Geertgen tot Sint Jans, “Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness,” 15th century provides the reflection for this week. Through the painting we meet the prophet in the wilderness. The scene brings to mind Christ’s own time in the wilderness, a time of prayer, trial, and temptation. In these days of Advent, we experience the already and the not yet. We are in the wilderness, yet the life-giving grace of God is always and already there. At the same time, we still await the fullness of glory, the ultimate quenching of our thirst. May our own lives of prayer prepare the way of the Lord within us as we await his coming.
WEEK 4 OF ADVENT
Anton Raphael Mengs, “The Dream of Saint Joseph,” 1773. In this painting we meet the sleeping Joseph, who dozes off at his workbench. He is worn out, like we might be these days. Into his dark and heavy sleep enters the light of an angel. For Joseph, his greatest burden will become his greatest blessing. His dream is a consolation to us all in these darkest days of the year, whether we experience the darkness externally or internally. The light of Christ will shine to dispel the darkness. Ask yourself: where in your life do you yearn for the light of Christ the most?
Paul Gauguin, “Bébé (The Nativity),” 1896. This work of art invites us into the mystery of the Incarnation in all of its earthy, human intimacy. The Word becomes flesh in the context of this Tahitian scene, where two women, a child, an angel, and some farm animals share a space. In The Nativity, Christ is born. He enters messily into the imperfection of our lives, a gift of himself for humankind so that we may see his glory now and forever. Welcome Christ into your life this Christmas and keep Him at the centre of all your celebrations and for always.