Newcastle Diocese Link Article – November 2017

Are We Nearly There Yet?


An Autumn Triduum

Towards the end of the church year, three days follow on, one from the other, forming a dim reflection of a very condensed Lent. On All Hallows’ Eve, there is chaos, carnival and celebration to parallel Mardis Gras – mocking and chasing away the powers of darkness, as opposed to using up all the soon-to-be-fasted-from produce from the house; All Saints Day, celebrates and looks to those who have gone before, and reflects on what can be learnt from their experiences; and on All Souls Day – we remember all those no longer with us, both saint & sinner, as Christ went down to the dead on Holy Saturday, leaving us looking back to the formerly-living until the seasons change and new life is ushered in.

These three days help clear the air and point us towards Advent – preparation for a time of preparation.

And Lesser Fleas To Bite ‘Em…

Every year, it gets earlier. It was mid-September when I saw this year’s first complaint about how early in the year people could be seen complaining about Christmas getting earlier every year. It seems that we live in a perpetual state of complaint and irritation – like children asking “are we nearly there yet?” before the car has gone further than the end of the road – always Advent but never Christmas…

Janus, One Month Too Soon

The two-faced Roman God, for whom the first month of the year is named, looks back to the past and forward to the future. Advent is both a time to prepare for the jubilation of Christmas, looking back and celebrating the birth of Jesus and all that the incarnation means for all of us, and also a time to look forward – to Christ’s coming again – and think about the changes we should be making in our own lives to get ready for his return, it’s about much more than decorations and presents.

Are We Nearly There Yet?

Not really. But the oil and the tyres have been checked, the bags have been packed and everybody’s in the car. We’ve made it past the edge of town and, if we read it correctly, this autumnal triduum will point us in the right direction. Look out Advent, here we come!