Alert, Aware, Attentive: Advent Reflections

Advent is here and I feel these two pamphlets will be very helpful as we prepare for Christmas.

By John Cullen

52 pages, price €4.95 and £2.35 (Kindle).

We often find it hard to believe that we have a unique voice. Advent begins with a voice crying in the wilderness. Every voice matters – especially voices in the wilderness that are stifled and silenced by alienation and apathy. This book dares you to take the time to listen to Advent voices in the wilderness that persist with calls to be heard and respected.

December is a month when we fill the winter days and nights with a new busyness. This book is a chance to pause, catch our breath. This book is a fingertip on the pulse to appreciate our every breath and heartbeat as a gift. It is a chance for the reader to connect with God’s word during Advent – cradling a word, a phrase or an image that whispers hope into some parched place in our lives – a place of dry bones (Ezekiel 37:1-14). This is where God’s patient dialogue waits for our response.

The author celebrates God’s love enfolding all that we hide – just as Adam and Eve hid their own natural beauty (Genesis 3:7) – unaware of God’s ‘hide and seek’ presence. Here is a God, eager to guide them and us from shadowy darkness into a perpetual light of eternal love.

Advent gives us the space to create new contexts that transform predictability into possibility, despite our inadequacies and the freight of failures that we carry. Advent is a time to develop skills as disciples, so as not to miss God. Advent is about being disciples. The gospels show us how the disciples stumbled, fumbled and slowly and gradually learned to change, follow and witness.

About the author – John Cullen

Born in Sligo, John Cullen was ordained in 1978 for Elphin Diocese. He served in London as an Emigrant Chaplain to the Irish community before being appointed as Diocesan Advisor for Primary School Religious Education. He volunteered to serve for a few years in Kenya with the St. Patrick’s Missionary Society (Kiltegan). Pastoral appointments have been the main aspect of serving in Elphin Diocese. He is currently Parish Priest of Ahascragh and Caltra in Co Galway. He edited the Diocesan Paper, ‘The Angelus’, for many years and recently was appointed Editor of Intercom. He is an avid Arsenal fan as well as a great supporter of the GAA. Travelling to new places, films, art, drama, reading, writing and mountain climbing are other interests.

(most of the information above from promotional material).

The Editor of “Africa”, the publication of the Kiltegan Fathers, has this to say of the pamphlet:

“Advent is to the Christian what Spring is to the farmer. Land that has lain fallow has to be prepared to produce’ In this compact book John Cullen gives us more than enough material to aerate the soil of our lives and welcome the message of the new-born Jesus.

“There is a practical suggestion or thought provided for everyday of the season. He draws his ideas from far and wide. All our senses, all of the experiences that make up human life, nature all around us, other people’s stories, the good and bad in world affairs can all help us to embrace and savour Advent.”

“Not written for specialists, anyone remotely interested in the true meaning of Christmas will find it interesting and well worth the read.”