Advent marks the beginning of the liturgical year. During the darkest days of the year we await the approaching birth of light (the winter solstice). This is a time of fasting and purification as we prepare for the further progress of the soul.
"And the Light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not!"
At this time of year we are reminded that these words from the Gospel of Saint-John are not only an eternal fact but also an eternal process and promise to come.
Since the time of Bernard of Clairvaux (d.1153), incidentally the Saint most responsible for the character of the Knights Templar, Christians have spoken of the three comings of Christ: in the flesh in Bethlehem, in our hearts daily, and in the glory at the end of time.
However, no matter what you believe about the nature of Jesus himself, and Gnostics have a proven track record of being non-dogmatic about this very sore point of Christian Theology, the coming of Christmas is a potent symbol of the renewal of the Light all around us and within us. Despite the Orthodox Church’s denial of intentionally placing Christmas around the Winter Solstice, Gnostics on the contrary embrace the symbolic importance of its placement during this time of year.
In what seems to very much be a time placed aside in our world for Divine Love, it is with great anticipation that many of us look forward to Christmas, as a special time to spend with loved ones. But the intent for today is not only this beautiful anticipation but also the actual seeking of that Light which the promised Child symbolically represents. As Gnostics, we are called during this time of Advent to place aside even more time to seek the Divine Light in the Gnostic scriptures, in meditation and in ritual.
As we are promised in the lesson for today taken from the Book of Sophia: “Seek, all of you, after the Light, so that the power of your Soul that is in you may live.”
And the Christ speaking through the Master Jesus in the Gospel of St. Thomas also proclaims to us: “Let him who seeks, not cease seeking until he finds, and when he finds, he will be troubled, and when he is troubled, he will marvel, and he will reign over all.” And later: “But the kingdom is within you and it is without you. If you know yourselves, then you will be known and you will know that you are the sons of the Living Father.”
Let us therefore as One Gnostic Community and One Universal Gnostic Church, pray together that during this Advent time we may be renewed in our commitment to seek that Light, and being so renewed, may our efforts be rewarded with an ever growing intimacy with that Light and its many wonderful and bountiful gifts. Amen.
"Seek, all of you, after the Light, so that the power of your Soul that is in you may live. Do not desist from seeking by day and by night, until you find the purifying mysteries of the Light which refine the body of matter and make it a pure Light very refined. Do to all men who come to you and believe in you and listen to your words what is worthy of the mysteries of the Light, give the mysteries of the Light and do not hide them from them. For he who shall give life to a single soul and liberate it, besides the Light that is in his own soul, he shall receive other glory in return for the soul he has liberated. (Pistis Sophia)