Advent through the centuries: the twelfth century

Thursday, December 12, 2013
The twelfth century of the Church

John 12:35-36

Jesus replied, “The light is with you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become sons of light.” When Jesus had said these things, he went away and hid himself from them.


Old English Homilies of the Twelfth Century, Author unknown. Read more here.

To-day is come the holy time that is called Advent, thanked be our Lord Jesus Christ who hath sent it. And it lasts full three weeks and somewhat more, and betokens three times (periods); one which was before the Old Law, the second was under the Old Law, and the third was under the New Law. Men who were dwelling under each of these three periods longed eagerly after our Lord Jesus Christ’s coming as we [now] do, who are under these three weeks which are called Advent, that is to say, in English, our Lord Jesus Christ’s coming.

Our Lord Jesus Christ’s comings are two openly;–the first is gone, which the patriarchs and the prophets and other men who were [living] in those days longed for; and the second coming shall be on doomsday, and that we look for; and all those who have been since our Lord Jesus Christ ascended to heaven; and all those who are to come hereafter await his coming. And of the first coming speaks the holy book, thus saying, Here comes our King, let us go towards him and receive him graciously and highly honour him.

Mosaic of Madonna and Child, from the Chilander monastery in Greece, c. 12th century.
Mosaic of Madonna and Child, from the Chilander monastery in Greece, c. 12th century.


A prayer for Christmas, by Bernard of Clairvaux.

Let Your goodness Lord appear to us, that we
made in your image, conform ourselves to it.
In our own strength
we cannot imitate Your majesty, power, and wonder
nor is it fitting for us to try.
But Your mercy reaches from the heavens
through the clouds to the earth below.
You have come to us as a small child,
but you have brought us the greatest of all gifts,
the gift of eternal love
Caress us with Your tiny hands,
embrace us with Your tiny arms
and pierce our hearts with Your soft, sweet cries.


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