As I write this, there is a climate conference in Glasgow in Scotland, and circumstances where I am in Trinidad and Tobago seem grim: as the global pandemic of Covid19 continues, I am watching invasions of locusts and giant snails devastate fields which are obscured by the ‘vog’ (a term I hadn’t heard until a few days ago- it means volcanic dust and smog) which is mixed with Sahara dust and suspended in the heavy humidity.
The year is drawing to a close and previous ideas about planning for Advent, Christmas, New Year’s and the future in general seem to have been eclipsed by doubt, worry and fear about whether plans can ever be made and kept.
The approach of Advent speaks to us in the midst all our challenges to remind us that we are recipients of “good news of great joy” from the Lord with whom “nothing is impossible.” Christ does not replace pain with pleasure but points us to a different pathway here and hereafter. When we think about the history and development of Advent, we can perhaps reflect on our own lives and our journeys.
Years ago, Christmas and Easter became popular celebrations in the early Church, and some weeks were set aside for introspection, repentance and fasting before the feasts. Lent (meaning “springtime”) denoted the weeks approaching Easter. Advent (meaning “coming”) designated the weeks before Christmas. Advent was commemorated since around the time of the Council of Sargossa (A.D. 380). The first Sunday of Advent (four Sundays before Christmas Day) is the beginning of the liturgical calendar. This year for Advent, here are some ways we can mark this sacred season, and some questions we can ask ourselves:
The Christian life can be symbolized by Advent because it is the time of both the “now” and the “not yet” as we watch and wait as we embark on our Advent adventure. Disasters continue in the world but we proclaim and exemplify the divine remedy. Let us work as we wait. Let us watch and pray as we actively incarnate the presence and power of God on earth.
Rev. Sieunarine is the Principal of St Andrew's Theological College of the Presbyterian Church of Trinidad and Tobago.
He attended universities in Trinidad, Canada, the USA, Israel and England, and embarked on vocations in the Church as well as in law, government, commerce and education. He is a Barrister of England and Wales and an attorney of Trinidad and Tobago