Living And Loving-It's Advent

Author: Fr Chris Thomas

Living And Loving-It's Advent

Advent is all about appreciation, forgiveness and being more mindful of living within God's sure embrace, says Chris Thomas. 

One Saturday morning, I was in a local prison leading a morning of mercy. We began with Mass, then we had a time of reflection, groups, and a question-and-answer session. At the end, sharing a cup of tea, a young guy called James came and sat with me.

He told me that this was his first time in prison. He was terrified, struggling with forgiving himself, and with accepting that God could forgive him. He had bought the lie that God is an extension of our own petty need to condemn and punish others for what they do.

Yet we are children of God, and we are loved by God. By the end of our time together, James was thanking me, and I’d done nothing, for changing his perceptions about God, himself and other people


Most of us will have had encounters with people that have changed our perceptions.

The Gospel is essentially about an encounter, and it always strikes me that whenever there is a real encounter with Jesus, change takes place. We become more loving, more forgiving and compassionate. 

That’s the reality of the Kingdom of God: not a future utopia, but a way of being in the present moment-and living that to the full, even when it’s sad and painful.        .


Sometimes in Advent we hear readings that seem to be dire warnings about the end of the world.

However, our real challenge should not be that the world might suddenly end, or that we might unexpectedly die, but that we might live and die, asleep, without really loving, and without tasting deeply the real joy of living because we are so consumed by the pressures of living.

So Advent is about being awake, and vigilant. It’s a question of having love and reconciliation as our main concerns. It’s about gratitude, appreciation, forgiving, and being more mindful of the joys of living within the sure embrace of God.

When we are open to these things, we will meet Christ, the ever-coming God, born in a stable at Bethlehem-and born within us, too.

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