By Fr. Kevin Magner
We have just begun a new liturgical year with the season of Advent. The season of Advent, we are told by the Church, has a twofold character. It is a time of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Christ at Christmas, and it is a time of anticipation of the second coming of Christ at the end of time. For these two reasons, Advent is a season of hope and expected delight.
Hope is something that is dwindling in many people’s lives after living through this past year, but it is something that the Church always proclaims throughout the liturgical calendar year. In the season of Advent we look forward with hope to the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ. In Lent we anticipate the resurrection of Christ and the promise of eternal life. Even in Ordinary Time we are looking forward to the second coming of Christ when the fullness of God’s Kingdom will be revealed.
If you are struggling to maintain hope I encourage you to pray to God to increase this virtue within you. It may also help us to be reminded of the image of Jesus as the Light of the World, He whose light overpowers the gloom of our darkness and despair. The sixth verse of the Advent hymn, “O Come, O Come, Immanuel”, speaks of that hopeful image:
O come, O Bright and Morning Star,
and bring us comfort from afar!
Dispel the shadows of the night
and turn our darkness into light.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
shall come to you, O Israel.
Have a hopeful and peaceful Advent, everyone!