2020 Advent Encounters – three reflections for small groups and individuals
Advent, like Lent, is a time of waiting – but not waiting like we might wait for a bus, but more like waiting at a table, waiting on God, attentive and responsive, expecting something. I sometimes think that when we talk about the wait of Advent, we should spell the word as weight, because Advent is a season of depth and seriousness to encourage us to lift our gaze from the immediate and obvious to contemplate a bigger picture, a weightier story…
In this, of all years, when we have been forced to reappraise our priorities, and have been stripped of many of our normal distractions and routines, Advent comes whispering a promise of another way, of light in darkness, of hope over despair, and of a quality of joy that is not based on how well things are going, but on who God is, and who we are.
In these Advent reflections we have chosen to home-in on the annunciation and birth of Jesus. We hope that the familiarity of the nativity story will give groups and individuals confidence to think widely and imaginatively about other layers of meaning, to go deeper, and by doing so to encounter Christmas afresh.
We have intentionally selected non-traditional art and poetry for each reflection. This is to help us, in the words of St Paul, to ‘open the eyes of our hearts’.
Revd Becky Bevan November 2020
Due to copyright restrictions we can only include excerpts from poems, but most can be found on the internet and read in full (because others have infringed copyright law!).
If you like poetry I strongly recommend ‘Haphazard by Starlight – A Poem a day from Advent to Epiphany’ written and compiled by Janet Morley and published by SPCK. This book includes some of the best 20th century poetry by a range of writers with excellent commentary and reflection by the compiler.
Morley’s anthology begins with a poem by Rowan Williams entitled ‘Advent Calendar’, which finishes –
He will come like dark.
One evening when the bursting red
December sun draws up the sheet
and penny-masks its eye to yield
the star-snowed fields of sky.
He will come, will come,
will come like crying in the night,
like blood, like breaking,
as the earth writhes to toss him free.
He will come like child.
Week one – resources here.
Week two – resources here.
Week three – resources here.