Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
Advent is a very important time in the liturgical year. It has its own cultural, family and parish traditions. This wonderful period introduces Christians into the atmosphere of Christmas. The Polish Christian culture has worked out a definite way of experiencing Advent. It is not only adjusting to the colour set by the liturgical calendar. It is also Advent thinking – opening to the coming of the Saviour and welcoming him. Families know what it means to wait for a child. It is longing for a child, joy, preparing his room and even planning his future. And so is with Christmas. It is a very important experience for Christian families, who realising that this Child is God prepare themselves for his coming, preceded by the Christmas Eve’s wafer. Our Advent preparations for the coming of the Lord are full of signs and symbols that express desire for God and openness to him. These are first of all the Rorate Masses in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus, with Advent Rorate candles, which symbolise Mary; these are Advent Gregorian chants, full of longing; these are parish retreats. In many churches the time of Advent is measured for children by the statuette of the Child that approaches to the faithful. In other churches this role is played by the Advent wreath with candles that are lit subsequently. We should know how to await in our lives. We are to await well, wisely and fruitfully. This is a task for Christians who should use this period to revive their faith, to cleanse conscience and fill their hearts with the most valuable contents so that one can say that something has changed in my life during this period. For something important happened as we read in St John the Evangelist, ‘the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us’ (1:14). This is an extraordinary event in the history of mankind; this is the hand of God himself, given for our salvation. It is worth experiencing Advent well. God is very close but man must open himself and receive him, make room for him in his life. This is also the sense of man’s fulfilment, his inner realisation. Many a time Christians look for various philosophies, values, meanings but within their reach there is the most wonderful philosophy – Christian philosophy, the philosophy of the coming God, philosophy that is so beautifully revealed in the time of Advent; God who is our fulfilment; who is the only One giving man true inner joy and happiness. He is Emmanuel – God is with us! The biblical sciences show us God as the coming Messiah whom mankind awaited for a long time. Let us appreciate this fact and let us try to live differently from now on; let us live in his light, according to his philosophy that can be our wisdom. Let us approach God through prayer and getting to know the Holy Scriptures, which will determine our inner peace about which Jerzy Zawieyski described as ‘peace of depth.’ Advent leads us to this peace that the world cannot give and that God gives. May the Advent of the year 2008 be a great experience of God – the Messiah, Jesus Christ who comes as God who is with us.