Updated: Nov 25, 2021
Thursday 25th November
At the beginning of her beautiful book, Through the Advent Door: Entering a Contemplative Christmas, the writer and poet, Jan Richardson, writes:
‘Always I return. No matter where I have travelled in the past year, no matter how far the journey or the turns the path has taken, I keep finding myself here at its door. The season of Advent, this space in the Christian year that invites us to anticipate and prepare for the celebration of Christ’s birth. Made of nothing more substantial than hours and days, Advent exists only in time. But each year, as I draw near to its beginning in the wandering days of November, Advent seems as much a place as a season.’
Always I return.
And always I feel a sense of relief as though I have come ‘home’. Home to the stories that are so familiar. Stories that are carried and held in the lives of those who held and bore Advent’s love story over thousands of years. Home – again – to the hopes of past, present and future wrapped in human skin and born into the very heart of life’s reality.
Always I return.
Advent issues an invitation for us to return – again – to this powerful place. This, ‘season of deep memory, a time to hear again the story of God who journeyed with us from the beginning and who, in the fullness of time, took on flesh and entered this world to walk with us.’
I wrote, in a post last week, as to how this year’s Advent series was inspired by the words of Arthur Cole Riley: ‘The sound of Advent is the voice of women.’ Thinking on this, and paying attention to some of the women whose lives carried Advent’s story, we will focus especially on the words of Mary that ring out in her Magnificat:
“My soul proclaims your greatness, O God,
and my spirit rejoices in you, my Saviour.
For you have looked with favour
upon your lowly servant,
and from this day forward
all generations will call me blessed.
For you, the Almighty, have done great things for me,
and holy is your Name.