In Celtic Christianity, advent is a big deal. During the Dark Ages, amazing Celtic believers did much to preserve the gospel and maybe even saved the world. These saints practiced lovely advent traditions, which I think have great merit, based on their track record. Their tradition recognizes advent as a time to focus on repentance and humility in an attempt to prepare a clear and level pathway for the coming of Jesus. It is a time to remove boulders and fill potholes. “Boulders are things we have done that we shouldn’t have; potholes are things we have failed to do which we obviously should have.” Celtic Advent has always been 40 days of preparation for Jesus’ birth to match the 40 days of preparation before Easter (Lent).
Here are some excerpts from specific Celtic Advent prayers:
“God of the watching, waiting ones, the slow and suffering ones, give us your good word for our souls, that we may rest and rise in the kindness of your company.”
This prayer helps me realize that the ultimate end, the overarching goal of advent, is God making a way for us to reach our end in deeper relation with him, our greatest joy.
“O come to deliver us, and do not delay… O come, free thine own, from depths of hell thy people save, and give them vict’ry o’er the grave: Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.”
“…then shone the sun on the mountains high to him. All hail, let there be joy/ God the Lord has opened a Door./ Christ of hope, Door of joy!/ Son of Mary, hasten Thou to help me:/ In me, Lord Christ, let there be joy.”
Stefan Seeling, Student Ministries Director