These reflections were commissioned by Church of the Ascension in Elmhurst Illinois and are also being used by Light of Christ in Kenosha, Wisconsin. If you are a member of either congregation, I’d love for you to read these from those websites–it helps them know that someone actually finds these reflections helpful.
Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Advent is marked by contrast of darkness with light. Here in the northern hemisphere, our days are shorter; the evening sneaks up on us suddenly, so that when when we leave work we’re surprised by the dark. With the darkness comes cold and both remind us of death. When we are in darkness, we learn to appreciate the light. A single flame does much to dispel the darkness. Even though the darkness is still there, the flame allows us to see features clearly, to take the next step with confidence, without groping.
This first Advent collect reminds us that we must choose light rather than darkness, we must seek the Christ child who was sent into the world. Even though his light seems dim and fragile at first and even at one point to have been snuffed out, it returns and burns brighter and brighter until that last day when it will shine in “glorious majesty,” when we will see clearly, not merely groping in the dark, but rejoicing in the light of Christ.