As I write these reflections, we are living through a turbulent time. With a global pandemic threatening the health of millions, political viewpoints severing relationships, protests and demonstrations calling for racial justice, most of us are feeling anxious, frightened, overwhelmed. We are in need of healing, physically from a virus that has claimed too many lives, emotionally from strained and severed relationships, spiritually from the fatigue of doubt and fear.
It behooves us to remember that Jesus was born into a world facing disorder, oppression, and fright as well. People then, as now, longed for a Messiah who would save them, bring them wholeness and healing.
Throughout the centuries, we who long for the coming of Christ in a tangible way have expressed this yearning in a variety of ways. One way was through images of God, known as “O Antiphons” as they became part of the Christian tradition in the 7th or 8th century. They are different names for God, traditionally used during the last week of Advent, December 17th through 23rd, and sung in the seven verses of the Advent hymn O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (included here).
Advent is a time of deliberate attention to preparing our hearts for welcoming the Christ. These reflections have been created in the hope that they will enrich your Advent journey, by providing a prayerful intention of deeper relationship with God. Because God is so much greater than our minds can even begin to comprehend, we can only know God through glimpses, through reflections. Inspired by the O Antiphons, I have sought to express other images of God based on the weekly Revised Common Lectionary readings for this Advent and Christmas season. The reflections for the Sunday readings begin on the Monday before so that we will have the opportunity to reflect on these Bible verses before hearing them in worship. There is also a prayer to guide each day. I trust that through our united prayers, we can offer transformation and hope to our world. By using the first person plural we, I imagine the community of people using this resource to be allied in prayer.
I would welcome any of your thoughts, comments, suggestions or reflections as you journey through this Advent season. Please share on this website, or on my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/AdventReflections.
As we take time with this booklet, with these prayers, may our reflections deepen our relationship with God, so that we may bring healing and hope to our world as we prepare our hearts to celebrate the coming of Christ.
In Christ’s peace,
Scripture verses are quoted from An Inclusive-Language Lectionary: Readings for Year B Copyright 1986 by Division of Education and Ministry, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.
The images of God are the author’s own responses to the scripture verses, except for the traditional “O Antiphons” from December 17 through December 23.
All prayerful reflections have been created by the author.
©2020 Rev. Susanna M. Kawolics