Prepared by the Joint Liturgical Group of Britain and Ireland
Advent (1st – 24th December)
Collect for Advent
Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which Thy 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 quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through Him who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Spirit, now and ever. Amen
From the Bible
Isaiah 58, 5-8: Is it such a fast that I have chosen? A day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord?
Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To lose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yolk?
Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? When thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily; and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy reward.
Romans 13, 10-12: Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
St Luke 21, 25-28: And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
Advent can look like a two-track process. One is the preparation for Christmas, and for the life of Jesus, between Christmas and Easter. The other is preparation for the Second Coming of Christ, and for the Last Judgement. But they do not need to be kept separate. If ‘second coming’ and ‘last judgement’ are interpreted not in length of time only, but in levels of depth and ultimacy, and if the life of Jesus is seen as the account of the most ultimate reality, then there will be little difficulty in holding together the devotion of heart and mind to Christ’s earthly life and the testing of all conduct and priorities against the yardstick of fundamental value, which is expressed in the same earthly life of Christ.