Rowan Williams' Final Christmas Message  

Posted by Joe Rawls

For his final Christmas reflection as Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Williams speaks on the Prologue of St John's Gospel.

Cyril of Jerusalem on Advent  

Posted by Joe Rawls

Now that Advent has officially begun--with first Vespers of the First Sunday of Advent--we have St Cyril of Jerusalem (313-386) reminding us that Advent is not about shopping or even the birth of a baby into a destitute family two millenia ago.  Advent is in fact a very eschatological season; we will pick  up on this if we pay reasonably close attention to even the Sunday scripture readings.  The first coming of Jesus in the flesh prefigures his glorified second coming, when we and the entire cosmos will also be transfigured into glory.  The excerpts below are taken from his Catechetical Lectures.


We do not preach only one coming of Christ, but a second as well, much more glorious than the first.  The first coming was marked by patience; the second will bring the crown of a divine kingdom.

In general, what relates to our Lord Jesus Christ has two aspects.  There is a birth from God before the ages, and a birth from a virgin at the fullness of time.  There is a hidden coming, like that of rain on fleece, and a coming before all eyes, still in the future.

At the first coming, he was wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger.  At his second coming he will be clothed in light as in a garment.  In the first coming he endured the cross, despising the shame; in the second coming he will be in glory, escorted by an army of angels.  We look then beyond the first coming and await the second.  At the first coming we said:  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.  At the second we shall say it again; we shall go out with the angels to meet the Lord and cry out in adoration:  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.