Happy Advent 2022! The word Advent comes from the Latin word ‘adventus’ meaning coming. Christians around the world celebrate this time of preparation for the coming of the child Jesus into our lives and most importantly into our hearts at Christmastime and forward. In our parish our theme for Advent is ‘Birthing Emmanuel in Our World’! A banner containing this theme and a beautiful artistic rendition of a pregnant Mary surrounded by the world will greet parishioners as they enter church for liturgy. As we move through advent, we are called to reflect on the ways we may be called to birth our savior Jesus Christ in our World.
In our reflection we also take time to notice the four candles on the advent wreath. These candles represent the four weeks of Advent symbolizing Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. The first candle represents Hope. We hear the clarion call to stay awake and to awaken others to the miracle of Bethlehem and how life-giving and hope-filled our lives and world is because of this great event. During the second week we are given the challenge to work for Peace and justice as we continue to bring forth God’s kingdom here on earth.
The third week we rejoice and celebrate the Joy in the promise of the Christ Child and be patient and trust in that God’s kingdom surrounds all of us. In the fourth week we witness to the faith and courage of the Virgin Mary as she consents to bring Love to birth. We are called to be open and receptive to that love as modeled by Mary and Joseph.
Isaiah gives us that sense of hope in the first reading today as he reminds us of God’s protective care for us as our refuge and strength. Psalm 122 speaks of peace and rejoicing as we journey to the house of the Lord, which is what this season is all about. In the gospel message from Matthew, we witness the faith and love of the centurion which led to Jesus healing his servant.
During this season of Advent may we make time to reflect on how we will birth Emmanuel within ourselves, our family, community, and world. May we come rejoicing to the house of the Lord on Christmas morning ever more hopeful, peaceful, joyful, and loving as we celebrate and live out the glorious message of the Incarnation! Have a blessed Advent!
Theresa Secord is a Pastoral Associate at St. Agnes Parish, Louisville, Kentucky.