Advent Resources 2013

                                  The First Sunday of Advent is on December 1st.

I shall be offline from Thursday 28th November until Tuesday 10th December- hence the rush to get some Advent posts done now.

Celtic preparations for Advent have already begun as the tradition starts a full 40 days before Christmas Day . Site here.

I'm mindful too that for people in New Zealand and the Southern Hemisphere,
December is very different to Europe and the Northern Hemisphere. People there are waiting too, but it is for summer holidays, examinations and results, and for the end of the academic year. 

Here are a few useful links. I will update and add them eventually to a running archive which will be put on my side bar. If readers have any suggestions you are most welcome to contribute links via comments boxes.

  • Praying Advent and many other links at Creighton Online Ministries from here.
  • Many Advent resources in the tradition of Ignatian spirituality from Ignatian a division of Loyola Press Jesuit Ministries from here. 
  •  A variety of articles from Loyola Press to inspire you during the Advent here.
  • Beginning 30th November, "God In All Things" presents a four-week Advent series on Ignatian discernment called Discerning Advent from here. Each Saturday evening there will be a new reflection posted and emailed, examining Ignatian discernment and decision-making in the light of the Mystery of the Incarnation.The four weeks will have the titles of Darkness, Annunciation, Preparation, and Nativity. Each post will  include a quotation, a reflection, practical insights for discernment, and a relevant music selection.
  • Franciscan Brother Mickey McGrath wonderful Advent Art Videos posted from 2011 from here.
Busted Halo’s Advent calendar brings its sense of surprise by showing you the whole calendar, but not letting you open each day and find out  what’s behind the picture until that day comes along. This year, the calendar turn  our attention to matters of patience — hoping each day’s Daily Jolt and  MicroChallenge will help all of us come through Advent with our serenity intact.

  • The video for 2012 "Alleluia The Christ Child Comes."is below.

  •  Parker Palmer Video on The Risk of Incarnation
  •  The Advent Conspiracy website: has many resources and ways of doing something different during Advent.


This page is also on my side bar as a stand alone.
 Just look for the image below and click on it. 
I will be adding some new Advent poems as we go through Advent.

  • A beautiful set of reflections throughout Advent 2011, from my friend Robin who blogs at Metanoia titled Praying Advent Through Darkness.   

  • Robin's moving reflections relate to loss and the holiday season and are an Advent blog she kept the first few years after her son Josh died.  
          Two Articles From Fr. Ron Rolheiser below...

"Advent is about proper waiting. It should therefore not to be confused with Lent. The crimson-purple  of advent is not the black-purple of Lent. The former symbolizes yearning and longing, the latter repentance. 

The spirituality of Advent is not about repentance, but about carrying tension without prematurely resolving it so that what's born in us and in our world does not short-circuit the fullness that comes from respecting love's rhythms. What is the connection here? How does carrying tension help lead to the sublime? It does it by helping to produce the heat required for generativity. An image might be helpful here. 

John of the Cross, in his book, "The Living Flame of Love," compares our pre-Advent selves to green logs that have been thrown into a fire, the fire of love. Green logs, as we know, do not immediately burst into flame.
Rather, being young and full of moisture, they sizzle for a long time before they reach kindling temperature and can take into themselves the fire that is around them so as to participate in it. 

 So too the rhythm of love: Only the really mature can truly burst into flame within community. The rest of us are still too self-contained, too green, too selfish, too damp. We don't burst into flame when love surrounds us. Rather our dampness helps extinguish the communal flame. What helps change this is precisely the tension in our lives. In carrying properly our unfulfilled desires we sizzle and slowly let go of the dampness of selfishness. In carrying tension we come to kindling temperature and are made ready for love.  

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, as a scientist, noticed that sometimes when you put two chemicals into a test-tube they do not automatically unite. They only merge at a higher temperature. They must first be heated to bring about unity. There's an entire anthropology and psychology of love in that image. In order to love we must first be brought to a higher psychic temperature. What brings us there?

 Sizzling in tension, not resolving things prematurely, not sleeping with the bride before the wedding, not trying to have the complete symphony within two hours. The sublime has to be waited for. Only when there is first enough heat will there be unity. To give birth to what's divine requires the slow patience of gestation. In short-hand, that's the algebra of Advent."
There are many people we meet along the Advent journey. Whether it is Joseph, Mary's parents, Mary's cousin Elizabeth whom she shared her good news with, the shepherds or the Magi, what characterises them all is hope and longing.

Rolheiser says "Mary believed a promise, was pregnant with hope,   gestated it, gave it her own flesh, went through the pains of childbirth to give it reality, and then nursed a fragile new life into apowerful adulthood that saved the world.

Advent is the season for us to encounter and engage with hope and carry it gestate it and turn God's promise, into real flesh."

Lighting an Advent candle every week allows us to think of where I can bring light to any place and anyone for whom darkness prevails, anyone who is struggling and disadvantaged, marginalised and isolated. 

 Rolheiser says, "During the season of Advent, Christians are asked to light candles as a sign of hope. Unfortunately this practice, ritualized in the lighting of the candles in the advent wreath, has in recent years been seen too much simply as piety (not that piety doesn't have its own virtues, especially the virtue of nurturing hope inside our children). 

But lighting a candle in hope is not just a pious, religious act, it's a political act, a subversive one, and a prophetic one, as dangerous as brandishing a firearm.
To light an advent candle is to say, in the face of all that suggests the contrary, that God is still alive, still Lord of this world, and, because of that, "all will be well, and all will be well, and every manner of being will be well," irrespective of the evening news."

                             You can read the rest of this article by Fr. Rolheiser  here.

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