Looking ahead to the upcoming season of Advent here are the opening paragraphs of three previous posts that explore Advent trouble, newness and life as we have lived it over the years at University Hill Congregation. Click on the link at the end of each paragraph to visit the original post ...
Advent trouble: Advent begins with trouble. This is the odd counter-cultural movement of the Christian Year. Just when the stores are in full swing, with jingling bells providing encouragement to Christmas shoppers along comes the season of Advent. Advent is the first season of the year. Its liturgical colour is blue. Advent is the season that tells the truth about the blues. It is the season that refuses to ignore the troubles that plague the world, the nations, the church, the family, the soul. Advent is the deep blue of the morning, just at dawn as the dark night is coming to an end ... Advent begins with trouble
Advent newness: There was a time when we at University Hill Congregation marked Advent with wonderful themes. Each Sunday in Advent was a day to celebrate one of four cherished virtues: hope, peace, joy and love. We do not do this anymore. Somewhere along the way we stumbled into celebrating the Advent of a new world in which these virtues have been turned upside down by the gospel of the Word made flesh. Yes, we continue to light the four candles of Advent. But now each candle stands for a chapter in the peculiar story of God’s entry into the world in Jesus ... The advent of a new world
Advent life: “Etz Hayim”. Those are the words that are spelled out - from right to left in Hebrew script - in front of University Hill Congregation whenever we gather for worship. It is carved into our pulpit. It means “Tree of Life”. The phrase is taken from the book of Proverbs which, when describing God’s Wisdom, says that “She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called happy” (Proverbs 3:18). It reminds us of John’s revelation that the tree of life stands at the centre of God’s kingdom come - the tree whose leaves “are for the healing of the nations” (Revelation 22:2) ... Tree of life