We thank the Lord for preserving our lives to the last month of the year 2022 and for walking with us through the trying times that we have experienced in the course of the year. The month of December is a month of hope, expectation, joy and celebration. During the month we have celebrations such as the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the birth of our Lord at Christmas and the Feast of Holy Family of Nazareth. The month is one of retrospection, stock-taking, self-evaluation and thanksgiving to God. The season of Christmas begins with the First Vespers (Evening Prayer) of Christmas on December 24th and ends on the Sunday after Epiphany. The Season of Advent is already with us. The liturgical colour of the season, that is purple, paints a spiritual portrait of hope and expectation, of longing and waiting, of conversion and penance in preparation for Christmas. Advent is the beginning of the new Liturgical Year and can be seen as another opportunity to renew ourselves spiritually. There are particular themes in the liturgy throughout Advent: a spirit of waiting, of conversion and joyful hope. It is a season of eager longing for the Messiah who is to come. We sing the song “O Come, O come, Emmanuel” to express the eager longing and hope for the coming of our Messiah who came to us first as a child in the manger and who has promised to come again. Let us therefore avail ourselves of the opportunity that Advent provides to renew our relationship with God: do penance, works of charity and carry out the corporal and spiritual works of mercy so that we can reap the fruits of the Lord’s coming both at Christmas and at the end of time.
• Most Rev. (Dr.) Alfred Adewale Martins is the Archbishop of the Metropolitan See of Lagos.
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