Advent I and the triumph of the end of time has become expectation of the light to come.
“Rise and prepare the feast to share. Go meet the bridegroom who draws near. She wakes, she rises from her gloom. Her dear friend comes down. Her star is risen, her light has come.” Phillip Nicolai
It is appropriate Advent begins the Church year. A birth awaits us and a star has yet to dance. But Advent in its way prepares us and announces a truth only found in the Christian proclamation. Nicolai tells us to wake up, the night is ending. The light is breaking. But where in our night is the light?
It is in the Star of Bethlehem and it is in us if we cast the reflection of the Christ. For no one can claim the light of themselves. No one is the star itself unless they cast this light. Without this light we are incomplete persons and Advent tells us this. It is only when the fabric that separates the Divine and the earth is rent that the Star of Bethlehem can come down. It is only those who seek this holy tearing who can see the light. And the light shines in the heart of persons and the light is Christ. Darkness has sought to diminish the light, but it has not.
And we all do need the other. We all need the constant to guides us, but that true constant can only be found in those who know Christ and have the courage to be Christ in the world and to one another. (In a movie review I saw of “The Dead” it was said this is for those who have met their Star of Bethlehem and in doing this they can see God.)
And here is a beauty and a paradox. We know the story already. God does come down. But He is born in a vulnerable way to a poor girl in a rural backwater watched over by a simple carpenter who cannot even claim the child is of his issue.
But this tells us of how we meet the Star of Bethlehem. It tells us to look for the light of Christ not in the grandeur of the mighty, but in the simple gift of having a dear friend, whether parent, sibling, confidante, or one we share a life with. Nicolai does say her dear friend comes down, she does take the hand of her groom, but who is He.
He is the One born humble and He dies like a criminal. He is every great myth of the hero, but He turns the story on its’ head. He has all the nobility of the gods but He is more aligned with the broken person.
Where then should we seek our star? Where is the light of Christ? It is not in the mighty, but the in the persons who cast His light….the humble and the simple.
This year as Advent begins I think of stars. I think of the one that will announce what to the world what would seem an inconsequential birth. I think too of the others. They are far away, but their light does not fade. I think of those who for me have rent the fabric and I think of Him who comes down that with His love the valleys be exalted and the high places become level with the plains.