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  • Debbie Thrower

'At Home in Advent'

Updated: Sep 24


(Photo credit - Jonathan Cherry)

On travelling… and being 'at home'

The aptly, and ironically, entitled At Home in Lent (BRF 2018) – after all, we were all confined to home this spring 2020, weren't we? – proved so popular that author Gordon Giles has followed up with At Home in Advent:


'While we shall certainly spend some time at home, we begin by setting out on the Advent journey, with some chapters that might more accurately be summed up as "Out and about in Advent".'

Once again Giles takes a journey through Advent to Christmas and beyond in the company of familiar seasonal and domestic objects and experiences. Focusing on the everyday stuff we typically associate with that time of year, including some things not so festive, he reflects on their spiritual meaning and message in today’s world.


Beginning with chapters on journeying and travel, the book moves though major Advent themes of expectation, waiting, mortality and hope to the joy of incarnation and salvation.


Gordon Giles is Chancellor of Rochester Cathedral and chaplain to the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers in the city of London. He is the author of several other BRF books, including Comings and Goings (2015).


As we 'look forward to Christmas,' he writes, 'which will also have a special meaning this year after the social isolations of Lent and Easter, a strange summer and ongoing trepidation about what the future holds for our health and our wealth. These are, ironically perhaps, Advent themes: hope, expectation, trepidation.


'So it is by circumstance rather than design that I offer this sequel inviting us all to reflect on being "At home in Advent", living at the end of a year when we have had to stay at home more than we would have liked or expected and when the idea of being "at home" takes on meanings and resonances for us that we could not have imagined a year ago. This year’s Christmas will be very different, but let us embrace it together.


'While we shall certainly spend some time at home, we begin by setting out on the Advent journey, with some chapters that might more accurately be summed up as ‘Out and about in Advent’.


'Being "at home" in Advent not only applies to our domestic set-up and how we might reflect upon it in our daily lives. It is also a wider opportunity to reflect on the bigger picture: the beauty of creation and the gift of God that is the planet earth, which we call "home". Amid the celebration of creation and redemption we can also reflect on what it means to live on planet earth in the light of the Advent messages of the end of the world, judgement, salvation and hope.'


Giles explores how 'there is a wider spiritual form of being "at home" in Advent. That is not to say we can be "comfortable" in Advent, far from it, Advent is a discomforting, disconcerting time, during which the church has traditionally invited us to reflect on sin, judgement and death, if only to help us appreciate all the more, the illuminating presence of the Word made flesh, shining in the darkness, whose first coming enables us not to be overcome by fear or despair.'


At Home in Advent is out this month and available from BRFOnline.


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