The Liturgical Seasons are intended to keep alive and deepen our realization of the principal truths of our faith. Advent, the opening season of the Church year, focuses on the astounding truth of the Incarnation – Christ who came into the world at Bethlehem, who will come in majesty and power at the end of time and who continues to dwells with us in the Church, especially in the Eucharist.
Awareness of the person of Jesus who was, is and will be should fill us with awe and wonder and so help us renew our desire to live more fully our relationship with him. Our union with Jesus, Son of God made man living in our midst, depends on our awareness of who he truly is, the visible image of God ‘s love for us.
From all eternity, he is “the only begotten Son of God, born from the Father before all ages, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with Father.” (The Nicene Creed)
From the time of creation, “All things were made by him…and without him nothing was made.” (John 1:3) The universe and all its wonders are the work of his hands. “He counts out the number of the stars and gives each of them a name.” (Psalm 147:4) He holds the world and all its wonders in his creative hands.
Is it any wonder that a host of angels praised and glorified him at his birth in the stable at Bethlehem, singing Glory to God in the highest? Is it any wonder that the shepherds glorified and praised God for the things they had heard and seen at the stable in Bethlehem?
Can we do anything less when we reflect on the gift Jesus is to us?.
Jesus is the Father‘s gift to us. “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him, might not perish but might have eternal life.” (John 3: 16):
Jesus is the gift of himself to us. “Who, being in the form of God, did not count equality with God, something to be grasped. But he emptied himself , taking on the form of a slave, becoming as human beings are, and being in every way like a human being.” (Phil 2:16)
Jesus is Holy Spirit gift to us. “Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. “ (Apostles Creed)
To help us deepen and strengthen our awareness of the gift that God gives us in Jesus is the purpose of Advent. To give glory and praise, as the angels and the shepherds did, are the disposition we should try to have as we reflect on and pray the Advent texts of the Mass and the Divine Office that speak to us of this Gift.