At the front of our school, near the entrance we have setup our Nativity scene for 2020. We do this to remind ourselves of what is important at this time of the year. Material possessions and gift giving are important, as is having a nice Christmas meal with family and friends. Though this visual reminder that we see when we enter and exit the school highlights what this time means for us as a Catholic School. It essentially suggests that through Jesus Christ’s birth the world was changed for the better and as a result we live in hope. Please read below extract from St Christopher’s Cathedral Bulletin written by Father Trenton Van Reesch- Cathedral Administrator.
“Friends, Sunday marks a new year in the liturgical calendar – the season of Hope – Advent. And it comes at the end of a year which has left many with an overwhelming feeling of uncertainty, disruption and even hopelessness. 2020 has certainly ‘woken us up’, to use an image from the Gospel. However now comes the great promise, the joyful truth which God echoes in every heart! And that promise, is of a God who comes close, bringing hope, especially to places where hope seems most unlikely!
In this first week of Advent, Jesus repeats a warning to his disciples, “stay awake!” But what is it we must be awake to? Of course, all those things that so often take our hearts and minds away from love of him: indifference, inner apathy and lukewarmness, and of course the sin that clings so easily (Heb 12:1).
But perhaps this year, more than ever, we are called to awake to the temptation and deception of… hopelessness. The word Advent comes from the Latin adventus, and while often simply rendered as a time of waiting and preparation, this word’s origins indicate an even richer meaning with significant implications for the gospel message. A form of the verb advenio, meaning to arrive, come to, or even develop – adventus can also mean an invasion, ripening, or appearing.
Advent is the time of God’s breaking into the human experience and all it entails. Its twists and turns, its joys and immense sorrows. Our God does not stay far off, nor distant like the ancient Greek idea of the gods of old. Rather, fearlessly, and lovingly he comes so close, becoming a helpless infant, and so the Hope and Light of the world. The use of adventus in the military homecomings in the ancient world is particularly interesting. In Rome, adventus, was used to describe the ‘glorious entry’ of an emperor back into his capital, often after military victory. In this vein, Advent speaks of the Mystery of God who came and continues to come to us, he ‘invades’ we could say, the darkness, poverty and mess of my life and your life, here and now. Hope born into hopelessness. Entering back among his own; back to claim that which is truly his, you and I.
Advent is thus the time to prepare and remind our hearts of the Hope which invades an otherwise hopeless world. So let us “stay awake”, attentive in the most subtle moments of our lives, to the voice of Love which breaks into the world of flesh and blood. The world of pandemic and uncertainty. Let us be attentive to God who here and now, comes to us! 2020 has given us moments to reflect on the uncertainty of our lives and life in general.
However now, in the gift of Advent, it is the time to reflect on The Certainty. The Certainty who now has a face and a Name, entering into our midst. May we have a blessed and hope-filled Advent – wherever we find ourselves. And let us pray that the peace which only this Child can give, may invade every human heart, which in hope, joyfully awaits his Coming.”
Father Trenton van Reesch Cathedral Administrator
Advent Prayer for The Lord to Come
This Christmas, Lord, come to the manger of my heart.
Fill me with Your presence from the very start.
As I prepare for the holidays and gifts to be given,
Remind me of the gift You gave when You sent Your Son from Heaven.
The first Christmas gift, it was the greatest gift ever.
You came as a baby born in a manger.
Wrapped like the gifts I find under my tree,
Waiting to be opened, to reveal Your love to me.
Restore to me the wonder that came with Jesus’ birth,
when He left the riches of Heaven and wrapped Himself in rags of earth.
Immanuel, God with us, Your presence came that night.
And angels announced, “Into your darkness, God brings His Light.”
“Do not be afraid,” they said, to shepherds in the field.
Speak to my heart today, Lord, and help me to yield.
Make me like those shepherd boys, obedient to Your call.
Setting distractions and worries aside, to You I surrender them all.
Surround me with Your presence, Lord, I long to hear Your voice.
Clear my mind of countless concerns and all the holiday noise.
Slow me down this Christmas, let me not be in a rush.
In the midst of parties and planning, I want to feel Your hush.
This Christmas, Jesus, come to the manger of my heart.
Invade my soul like Bethlehem, bringing peace to every part.
Dwell within and around me, as I unwrap Your presence each day.
Keep me close to You, Lord. It’s in Your wonderful Name I pray.
Assistant Principal – Mission and Identity