I remember many years ago buying a recording of the choir of Lichfield Cathedral singing Advent carols and anthems entitled ‘From Darkness to Light’. Whilst the title is hardly original it certainly offers a clear description of one of the principal liturgical themes of the season. Beginning in spiritual darkness brought about by sin we are taken through the prophets’ messages of hope to the birth of the Christ child and our salvation.
Light is a perfect religious term and certainly not one exclusive the Christianity, but it does describe the effect of the incarnation perfectly. Figuratively it describes the advent of creation over chaos and, in moral terms, the triumph of good over evil. The latter was something which engaged the imagination of the First Century world and gave the early Church a foothold on the ladder of religious engagement.
If light is used figuratively, it is also used literally. The scriptures describe God as light and declare that his glory ‘shines’. It is possible to perceive this light through revelation and to bask in the presence of God. This is not mere spiritual sunbathing. It has to do with a definitive perception of truth and reality. We begin to see things as they really are.
‘And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.’ (John 1: 5)
The Greek word katelaben is notoriously difficult to translate and so appears variously in versions of the bible as ‘overcome’ or ‘understood’. Either choice makes it clear albeit in a different way that the light is victorious. God triumphs in his creation and over all that opposes him. In the end all that opposes God is brought into the light – there is no place left to hide!
So encourage yourself this Advent by the appearance of the light. Begin to see things differently because in the light of God you see things as they really are.
From the diary
Sunday 26th November, Trinity 25
Wednesday 29th November, 10.00am Mass (St. Andrew, Apostle, tr.)
Friday 1st December, 7.00pm no service
Saturday 2nd December: Christmas Feast
Sunday 3rd December, Advent 1
Wednesday 6th December, 10.00am Mass (St. Nicholas of Myra, Bishop)
Friday 8th December, 7.00pm Mass (Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
Sunday 10th December, Advent 3
In addition to services at 8am and 9.30am: Family Service at 11.15am
Sunday 10th December, 11.15am
Wednesday 13th December, 10.00am Mass (St. Lucy, Virgin and Martyr)
Friday 15th December, 7.00pm Mass
Sunday 17th December, Advent 3
Wednesday 20th December, 10.00am Mass
Friday 22nd December, 7.00pm Mass
Sunday 24th December, Advent 4
Christmas Services 2023
6.30pm Carol Service
8.00am Low Mass (Book of Common Prayer)
9.30am Family Mass with carols (Modern rite)
Tuesday 26th December, 10.00am Mass (St. Stephen, First Martyr)
Wednesday 27th December, 10.00am Mass (St. John the Evangelist)
Thursday 28th December, 10.00am Mass (Holy Innocents)
Friday 29th December, 7.00pm Mass (St. Thomas Becket, Bishop and Martyr)
Sunday 31st December, First Sunday of Christmas
no midweek services
Sunday 7th January, The Epiphany of Our Lord
From the registers
20th November, Mollie Alexander (aged 90 years)