Soul Food for Young Adults: A Letter to Sinead and Mark, December 2nd , 2012.
First Sunday of Advent, December 2nd, 2012. Beginning ‘The Year of Luke’, when the readings on Sundays are mostly from St. Luke’s Gospel.
Sinead and Mark are two young adults.
DEAR SINEAD AND MARK,
Happy New Year to you both! Am I a bit early? Let me explain.
The ‘turn of the year’ is almost with us. We are only 20 days from the shortest day of the year, December 21st, the day of the longest darkness: then nature rejoices with the turn of the year, when the days get longer and there’s more light in the world. My own heart gives a leap of joy when we reach that lowest point, and I am filled with hope and joy again.
And Christians, for many centuries, have linked the birth of the Saviour in Bethlehem with that ‘turn of the year’, with the coming of hope and of light into the world. For centuries long before Christ was born, civilisations in the Northern Hemisphere celebrated in late December after the Winter Solstice of December 21st had come and gone. We have our own Newgrange as one of the great examples of this, thousands of years ago.
And in the Christian Churches, Advent (meaning the Coming) has been the start of the new cycle of the Church’s year, when we start to prepare for the coming of Jesus, the Light of the World. We have four weeks to prepare our hearts and homes, to make a space in ourselves when Jesus can be born again into our lives and society, where we will pull back the curtains and let his light come in, once more. Advent is the time when we prepare, as it were, an empty vessel to receive him.
Our prayer in Advent is simple: ‘Come, Lord Jesus!’; they are the last words of the Bible, and the first words on our lips.
So, Happy New Year, as you begin to welcome the Master, once again, this First Sunday of Advent in 2012. Enjoy the journey!
Fr. Seamus Devitt, C.Ss.R.