2017 Advent Reflection

by Dr Stephen Spence

Advent, the season before Christmas, is a time of waiting. We wait because that which is promised has not yet come in its fullness. It draws its theological strength from, among other things, Luke 1 and the song/prayer of Mary. Advent joins today’s Church with Mary’s longing for the coming Messiah and the early’s Church’s prayer (in the language of Jesus) maranatha – our Lord come!


Waiting in darkness. Troubled by evil – both the Great Horrors and the petty personal pains. Hopeful that this is not all there is; that this is not the way it ought to be. Uncertain whether this hope is built upon a divine promise or upon personal dreams.

Waiting in darkness. Awed by star-lights burning holes of divine promise into a despairing sky: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Daily evidence of a divine presence active within our stories. These shine constant in the night providing true compass points by which we can navigate through the reefs that would shipwreck our lives.

Waiting in darkness. Knowing that it is only the possibility of light that confirms the alienness for us of darkness. The darkness is not our reality; it is not all there is. So we wait in the darkness, looking to the horizon for the dawn that heralds the promised new day.

In the beginning God speaks light for us. Then, in Bethlehem, at a time of new beginning God speaks light to us. The light that shines in the darkness. The light that no darkness can overcome. The light that burns within all lesser lights, giving to each a power to transform despair into hope.

We sing songs of Advent in the midst of darkness because the Christmas Light burns within us. Our songs challenge the alien darkness with divine promises of a sun lit world in which there are no shadows – of things past, of thing present, or even of things to come. We herald the Christmas dawn with rooster songs of hope that offer light and life to all.

Blessed are we who believe that God keeps his promises!

Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus.