Advent and the journey to Christmas, how do they complement each other


Brisbane Catholic Education’s (BCE) Head of Catholic Identity Alain Pitot. 

A reflection by Brisbane Catholic Education’s (BCE) Head of Catholic Identity Alain Pitot. 

At some point we all have wondered, what is this waiting time we call Advent, in the lead up to Christmas? 

Some may be surprised to know that Advent and Christmas complement each other, just like Lent leads to Easter. If you do not fully participate in Advent, Christmas loses its real meaning. 

Advent, meaning ‘coming,’ is the four Sundays before Christmas, and is a time to set aside to help us prepare to receive the best gift of all, Jesus Christ.  

Every week of Advent we light a candle, and through the four themes of hope, peace, joy, and love, we can go on Mary’s journey to Bethlehem where she gave birth to Jesus. 

Advent is filled with excitement and preparation in the days leading up to the birth of Jesus, and through the Advent themes we can experience the joy of Christmas and prepare ourselves to bring Christ into the world. 

Even though metaphorical for most, Advent is a time which allows us to reflect on the experiences of parents who welcome the birth of a child. The is, the expectation, worry and the joy that is to come. 

Advent is a rebirth of everything and the preparation for God’s ‘promise’ to send us a saviour. The prophets foretold that a Messiah would come, and Advent is the time of waiting in anticipation for the fulfilment of this promise. 

As we journey through the Advent season the hoping and wishing for this gift is what makes Christmas day so special, when God’s promise is delivered to us in the form of a child, Jesus. In reflection we realise that the richness of this gift enhances the waiting period. 

Advent is truly one of my favourite times of year—there’s often an experience of surprise in the waiting. I sometimes contemplate the sense of uncertainty and anticipation that Mary must have felt waiting for the birth of Jesus. As a young woman fleeing her home, Mary certainly had a grasp on what it meant to expect the unexpected, that God is indeed a God of surprises! 

By the time Christmas day arrives, this waiting, hoping, and promise from God, brings hope into the world. God loved the world so much he gave us his only Son who was sent not to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 

Christmas day is so much more than we see reflected in today’s media, it is an opportunity for us to pause and give thanks to the hope, peace, joy and love we experienced throughout Advent. 

Christmas day reminds us, as we exchange gifts with loved ones, that we are never alone and can have hope for the future. Knowing God’s love is for everyone, and that God always delivers on his promises, however long the wait.  

Pope Francis said, “God is hidden in our life,” he further explained; “he is concealed in the most common and most ordinary situations in our life, in our daily work, in a chance encounter, in the face of someone in need.” 

May Christ be with you this Advent and Christmas time, and let it be a holy and blessed Christmas full of joy, peace, hope, and love.  

- Alain Pitot 

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