Christ, come enter through the door of the past:
into the remembered and the forgotten,
into the joys and sorrows,
into the recording room of memories,
into the secret room of sin,
into the hidden room of shame,
into the mourning room of sorrow,
into the bright room of love,
into the joyful room of achievement.
As we light the third Advent candle let us take time to remember. Remember the moments in your life when light shone most brightly, moments that showed you very clearly that God cares, that He is near, that “His word is a lamp for your feet, a light on your path” (Psalm 119:105). It may have been a happy time when blessings overflowed, or a time of distress through which God lit his light in the midst of confusion and brought peace in the midst of anxiety. You might recall a time when someone showed you hospitality and compassion when you least expected it, or a time when you were there for someone else and you felt blessed in return.
There are probably many light-filled events that you keep in the storehouse of your memory. Do not force yourself to remember any of them, rather let a situation from your recent or distant past emerge from within you and remind you of God’s work in your life. And then, still yourself before God and take time to savour the memory. Our memories, good or bad, carry a power to evoke again what they signify. As we remember God’s love, His goodness shown to us, we can feel its power growing in us again, anew. We can sense His light growing within us.
Let this memory which at one time brought you God’s blessings be like a gold you found in the river of your life, among the stones and rubble of everyday events. Allow it to evoke gratitude within you. Let this light-filled-memory remind you that Jesus’ coming at Christmas is for your own good and wellbeing, let it prepare the way for the Lord within you. May it be a gold from your past which you can bring to Christ on Christmas Eve with prayers of thanksgiving.
Through the centuries people waited on the Messiah, trusting the promises the prophets proclaimed. Their Advent was lengthy; they had to wait a long time. Our Advent is, on the other hand, an opportunity to deepen our gratitude for the love that God has shown us in Jesus’ birth. Our Advent has a fragrance of expectancy for we know that Messiah has already arrived. You may have noticed that in many churches the third Advent candle is pink, which stands for joy. We are expecting God’s love to shower the Earth with its goodness on Christmas, and therefore we have reasons to rejoice. The memory of the first Christmas is one of the most significant memories for humankind. God came into our world to heal us and our history. This recollection of God’s love has a power to produce an oil of gladness within our souls, an ‘inner myrrh’ that we can bring to Christ on Christmas Eve.
In the dark nights of Advent, let us remember that Christ has already come, and He will come again, on Christmas, as we make room for Him in our hearts.
In the shadow of the night
When the dawn
Is but a ghost
Unknown and hidden
In the dark
A long forgotten
Promise that brings light
God whispers again
To our hearts
Treasures from your past are
A bridge between the times
(Iva Beranek, from the poem “In the Night, Remember”)
Dr Iva Beranek is the Ministry Facilitator for the CMH: Ireland