Advent 2010© by DFRaborn, BA
Advent 2010 in the liturgical calendar began on Sunday, November 28th, always the Sunday closest to St. Andrew’s Day, a day in celebration of the Feast of St. Andrew’s. St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, Russia, Patras, Greece, as well as Romania, the Ukraine, and Prussia to name part of a long list he occupies.
He was the first of the twelve apostles selected and was known earlier to be a disciple of John the Baptist. Founder of the early Christian Church in Byzantium, he ordained its first Bishop and came to symbolically represent the Church in the East while his brother, Peter, is regarded as representing the Church of the West.
November 30th, 60 AD, during the reign of Nero, is recognized annually as the day of martyrdom in Patras, Greece of this prolific preacher, prophet, healer, and teacher. Saint Andrew, it has traditionally been thought, was bound and crucified upside down on a decussate cross commonly called the Saltire or St. Andrew’s cross. In Scotland, the national flag bears witness to the St. Andrew’s cross being identified the world over.
The letter chi or “X” in Greek is abbreviated to mean ‘Christ’ and leads one to wonder if the Apostle Andrew’s influence graced even the ancient language itself. “The Saviour of the world has come! He is the Christ, the Son of God!” This is the call of Saint Andrew to all men for “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow” (Hebrews 13:8).
We celebrate the First Advent in the Christian tradition for Jesus’ sake. For Jesus’ sake, we honor and reflect upon the magnitude of holiness sent to us out of Bethlehem. This in-depth reflection of the perfection of a life lived without sin and in all holiness and love from a sacred birth to a risen Savior directs our pause. And, it is this very significant pause that gives meaning to the awe that is Advent.
All the preparation of heart and Soul cannot possibly contain the Divinity that comes at the end of the Advent Season. Jesus is, indeed, grander as an infant than our minds could ever wrap around. However, we must persist in preparation. Jesus is always waiting.
The nascent spiritual development that begins anew each year builds upon our continual maturity in Christ. Advent prepares us to humble ourselves in anticipation, if we allow it into our hearts. Worthy of attention during the Season of Advent is a yearning for growth from the Word of God; the self-examination of reflective repentance; a hungering hope for new life; and, rejoicing in Christ’s offer of salvation.
Little Sammy sat at the kitchen table and waited. His mom told him waiting was a big job and he did it well. She was busy preparing dinner for their minister and the family all had chores. At four years old, Samuel Ethan Johnson was a veteran at waiting and listening. His parents told him often that his rabbit ears had sonar devices letting him hear from miles away. Why, he could even hear his grandmother before she came to visit.
That night at bedtime Sammy was especially quiet. He seemed to be looking all around and, at the same time, moving things in his room. His dad just took it all in stride as he tucked his much-loved son into bed.
“Dad”, Sammy asked, “Watch where you walk.” Then came, “Daaad, you’re squishing on the bed and please show that picture over there too.” “And dad, careful with your elbow.”
Dr. Johnson was a good, no, a great, dad and immediately followed his son’s night-time requests. Four-year olds know what they’re ‘up to’ even if no one else does.
The next week was full of little Sam announcing he had a friend that everyone needed to speak to; be careful with; arrange for seating, food and drink; and, overall, be nice to at all times. The family started calling Sammy’s imaginary friend a very thirsty, hungry and available friend.
“He’s a friend that lives right here in our home”, Sammy explained. “Oh, and we need to bow down to him, so do that right now, mom!”
“But, Sammy,” his mom knelt down on both knees and looked right into his sparkling eyes, “we only bow down to Jesus, not to other people. Please remember this, all right?”
“I know, I know. Don’t you remember when Pastor Bill was here and he asked if Jesus lived at our house and Dad said he did?”
Sammy spoke with the utmost confidence of a child who has listened well and knows it. “Thank you for feeding my friend, Jesus, and being such a good friend to Him, too”, Sammy said softly as he hugged his mom. Then he added, “Can He stay here?”
Tears began to roll down her cheeks as she nodded, hugging his small frame.
Advent 2010 © by DFRaborn, BA