God of hope, who brought love into this world,
be the love that dwells between us.
God of hope, who brought peace into this world,
be the peace that dwells between us.
God of hope, who brought joy into this world,
be the joy that dwells between us.
God of hope, the rock we stand upon,
be the centre, the focus of our lives
always, and particularly this Advent time.
St Maximilian Kolbe
Pray for us,
On Sunday 28th of November we commenced the Season of Advent, and we also started the brand-new year in the Church’s Liturgical Calendar, so happy new year! But what does Advent mean to us in the modern world both communally and individually? Especially following on from the trials we have faced both globally and personally due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Advent is defined as “a coming” or “an arrival.” It comes from the Latin word adventus, meaning “arrival” or “approach.” This general sense is often used in the context of the beginning or approach of seasons, as in the advent of spring. For Christians it is the waiting to celebrate the incarnation of Jesus when God decided to enter our world to help us out.
As humans we are always waiting for something. We live in constant hope and anticipation of what is coming next. There is the constant tension of living in the present moment whilst anticipating the future and sensing the moments of the past.
Personally, when I think of advent moments, I remember all the major events in my life, and I am wondering if you do too? Graduations, weddings, births, family gatherings, holidays, Sacraments.
As I get older these same moments have been advent events that I shared with my own children and now also through the life of my grandson. There is a beautiful sense of rhythm and peace that has taken over which has evolved from the excited anticipation of youth.
However, this year feels different. I feel that the struggles and events of the pandemic have sparked a renewed sense of excitement as Christmas approaches. This is the paradox of the cross, that out of pain, struggle and hardship, new life emerges and a new sense of wonder and anticipation of what might be renews the boredom and the monotony of life’s events and the true meaning of Christmas, God with us, can be explored.
This term we have celebrated Advent /Christmas Reflections with each of the Year levels as the students have left for their summer breaks. We explored the timeless themes of preparation, hope, peace, joy, and love associated with this season. Jesus brings these gifts to us daily through all the different ways that God reveals this deep knowing. Through nature, people, scripture, our families, and our own hearts.
Through the religious education curriculum, students have turned to thinking about others during this season. The Year 9 students have written personal letters to the elderly and the Year 8 cohort wrote Christmas cards to the homeless people of Melbourne. The school has donated money to the Mackillop Family Services Christmas so that local children and teens can receive one Christmas present this year and the school community continues to support COTS, Christmas on the Streets, an organisation founded by one of our ex-College Captains.
The Catholic Identity of our College is alive and well through these activities and by the way we care for each other and the local community. Our staff will be holding our Spirituality Day in December, and we will have the opportunity to celebrate Mass together on the final staff day.
This brings me back to Advent! I hope and pray that preparing and waiting for Christmas this year brings you great joy, peace, and love and that some of the wonder and awe of the season allows you to celebrate Christ in a new way this year. Everything seems new after the pandemic!
We have grown.
Throughout the pandemic the constant awareness that God is with us, Emmanuel, kept me sustained. We know that there will be many curve balls thrown at us in life’s journey and that sometimes things will be tough and challenging, but the beautiful gift of baby Jesus being born, Emmanuel, gives us the comfort to know that through it all, through it all…Christ is with us always in many different forms.
We remember especially those in our community who are experiencing the loss of a loved one during this season. We pray for all the souls of the faithful departed connected with our community.
Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord and may perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in your peace. Amen
I pray that everyone in our Kolbe Community experiences Advent and Christmas 2021 in hope, peace, joy, and love, with our eyes set on the future and all the wonderful things it may bring.
Director of Faith and community