Enriching our celebration of Advent by Andy Kruger

By the advent of his light, he scattered the darkness of this world
and in himself has revealed to us the way of truth, by which we may walk towards the blessedness of eternal life.

Proper preface for the first Tuesday of Advent from the Ambrosian liturgy.

You will hopefully be reading this just before, or perhaps during, Advent 2015. Given the context, this communique will explore some of the ways in which the Revision of the Prayer Book offers opportunities for us to enrich our celebration of Advent.

Our first challenge is how to adapt the Season to our Southern climate. The imagery of Advent, with all the references to light in the midst of darkness, lends itself to the bleak midwinter of our brothers and sisters in the Northern Hemisphere. Constructing Advent wreaths complete with evergreen foliage makes little sense to us who are in the blaze of summer. A better idea might be construct Advent candles in the shape of the Southern Cross constellation and develop more authentically Southern liturgies around that motif.

The second challenge is to find our African voice as we prepare both to welcome the Christ child again and ready ourselves for the second coming of our Saviour. An essential part of the revision process must involve a conversation about the interface between Christianity and indigenous cultures. Advent encourages us to investigate indigenous rites pertaining to the preparation for childbirth. Could these rites enrich celebrations or does the coming of Christ challenge these rites?

The third challenge invites us to update our liturgical theology to be congruent with that of the Anglican Communion. During Advent this might mean ensuring that the themes of hope and expectation are emphasised over self-examination and abstinence. Some members of Communion have adopted blue (which is the colour of Mary) as the liturgical colour for Advent so as to make it distinct from Lent.

If you have comments or ideas to contribute to the Revision process, or if you have written locally inspired hymns or songs please do be in touch with us at prayerbookrevision@gmail.com