Fri 23 Dec 2022

What does Advent mean to me?

As part of a series by the firm's Employee Resource Groups highlighting different religious festivals celebrated by our diverse workforce, Lucia Clark speaks about Advent and what it means to her.  

I suspect most of us are pretty familiar with chocolate advent calendars. Whilst I've never been known to refuse chocolate, Advent for me as a Christian makes me think of something a bit different. 

What is Advent?

The word "advent" means "coming", and it traditionally takes starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas (which might be late November rather than the first of December). For Christians, it is a time to reflect and prepare for Christmas, when Jesus came to our world. 

How do I mark Advent?

For me, a phrase that really sums up Advent is "light in darkness".  Christmas can be a hard as well as a joyful time, particularly when remembering friends and family not with us, and I find that message of light in the dark both powerful and comforting. There are lots of passages from the Bible often read at Christmas which use this, like Isaiah 9:2 ("The people walking in darkness have seen a great light") or John 1:5 ("The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it").  It's a time to remember that in dark December days, the light of the world has come, that He is still with us and that He will come again.  

My own church tradition doesn't mark the church calendar as much as some others, but I do like to do some special things during Advent. I usually read through particular Bible passages that look forward to the coming of Jesus each morning for December.  And although I am a truly dreadful singer, I love the words of some of the Christmas carols, and it is fantastic to be able to gather together to sing them again. 

It was a bit harder to do anything celebratory in lockdown, but one thing I organised for our street was "Advent windows", where different houses decorated and revealed a Christmas window design for each evening in December.  For me, that was a great way to show and celebrate light in dark times! 

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