The tender quiet of Advent and childlike bliss of Christmas are gifts of grace which are granted our age ever more rarely. Life has become too noisy and hectic, fate too harsh and dramatic. Yet, the secret of Advent’s quiet can be compared with the sensibility of a woman about to become a mother. The hope embodied in this sensation does not relate to a neutral event that will ultimately occur. Indeed, the woman who carries a child does not merely look forward to an event that will take place in due time. Early on, she is constantly enveloped and surrounded by the soul of the being for whom she is allowed to offer a body.
In our age, the same change comes to pass which the pregnant mother has to undergo when the calm months of anticipation are replaced by the labor of childbirth. She suffers all the pains and fearful tribulations because she knows they serve her own hope. Today, destinies overcome us that are nothing less than the birth pangs passing through humanity. We must give birth to something new that serves the purpose of our salvation. A new Christmas event is imminent in our age for which we have to prepare.
Christ does not come to humanity if calmness reigns. When he appeared two thousand years ago in earthly-human form, calmness likewise did not reign. Those were times of feverish and harrowing oppression. Then too, humanity suffered the pangs of a new birth. More so today, storms of a new birth rage through the world wherein something struggles to come to light. The saying, “Where suffering is greatest, God’s help is nearest”, is truly a Christ-related phrase, for when suffering is at its worst, it is possible to discern from this that the one who is drawing near comes for the salvation of humankind.
How do we find the way to that elevation of consciousness which enables us to grow into a discerning, touching, listening, hearing and a seeing of that world where the Resurrected One is even now close to us? After all, we are deeply asleep. The consciousness we possess by virtue of sense perception and rational thinking only concerns a thin surface-layer. The trumpet sounds of our present apocalyptic destiny try to awaken us from this sound sleep.
The spirit consciousness that has succumbed to slumber in us is to awaken through the birth pangs of tribulation in our age. The world of vision is meant to open to us…
Excerpts from The Rhythm of the Christian Year by Emil Bock (published in English in 2000 by Floris Books and available at: www.florisbooks.co.uk). Selection edited by Liza Marcato.