Dear Fellow Iconographers:
“Advent asks us to keep vigil for the Christ who comes to us anew in this season. It invites us to keep our face turned toward the horizon in hope. But Advent asks us also to open our hearts to the Christ who keeps vigil for us, the Christ who stands not on some distant horizon but, instead, is already with us, waiting for us to open our eyes to his presence that stays with us always.
As Advent begins, may you be blessed in your vigil: the one you keep, the one being kept for you. In that vigil, may you find your deepest welcome and know yourself at home. Peace.”
from “The Advent Door” by Jan Richardson.
The word Advent comes from the Latin, “Adventus” which means coming. It is the beginning of the Liturgical year and is a time of preparation, looking forward to the celebration of Christ’s birth. As Iconographers, we rejoice in the implications of this time waiting, the coming of Christ, the Word made flesh. Truly a symbol of Icons where we write the Image of Christ in remembrance of His HolyPresence and action upon us. During Advent we open our hearts to His influence and love in joyous anticipation of a life filled with the fulness of His Spirit.
I love this Icon of Christ in Glory, especially at this time of year. The predominant colors of red, green and gold ochre are highly symbolic and offer a clarity and simplicity found especially in Advent. Red and green are opposites and in Christ, both heaven and earth are united, within the context of gold, the color of God’s Presence and light. The four Evangelists in the corners remind us of Christ’s birth as a fulfillment of both Old and New Testament Prophesies.
In the two unfinished stages of the Annunciation Icon below, written by Jennifer Richard-Morrow, they graphically depict a sense of waiting, the form is visible, but the details are coming slowly, eventually creating a dynamic picture of a very exciting event in the life of Mary.
In Advent, I think of Mary- her waiting. Keeping her focus on God, her savior, prided a faith filled context within which the waiting became joyous. Her whole being was trained through prayer and family lo
ve to honor God’s will and to rejoice that she was chosen for the difficult and perilous mission of being the mother of Jesus. She believed God was doing great things for her. God’s will, not her own. “Oh, how I praise the Lord, my savior.” Luke 1 :46.
I encourage you to meditate and reflect, with a Madonna Icon if possible. God has called each one of us. May we wait with certainty and joy as his plan unfolds.
Brother Aidan, a Benedictine monk of the Holy Cross Monastery, has a weekly blog that this week begins a meditation on Advent and fasting. “Learning How to Fast”. He talks about how important it is to allow ourselves to experience the feeling of emptiness. We need to experience hunger in order to know what we are truly hungry for.
“Although Advent is not a penitential season, it is a season of waiting and watching, a season of expectation. Our Christmas celebration will be all the sweeter if we sit in the gathering darkness of winter and allow ourselves to long for the dawning of the light rather than turning on every lightbulb in the house in an effort to cast out the shadows. Let’s relearn how to fast. It will make our feast all the more joyous when it comes.” Brother Aidan, Holy Cross Monastery
“For a true Iconographer, creation is the way of asceticism and prayer, that is, essentially, a monastic way.” Leonid Ouspensky; The Meaning Of Icons
Sending love and prayers this beautiful Advent Season. May you experience the love of God and Mary especially this Christmas.