Today is the first Sunday of Advent, the first day of a period of watching and waiting. Advent is also the church’s new year where the cycle of the lectionary 1 begins again. Churches and homes around the world will light the first of four candles in the countdown to Christmas. As the days get shorter (at least in the Northern Hemisphere), we turn to alternative light sources as a reminder that “the true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world” (John 1:9), in the form of an unassuming child. 

Besides the weirdness of starting the new year in the dark, advent can also feel hustled and rushed. Whether we are wrapping up school work or wrapping up Q4 of the financial calendar, this last month of the year can make us feel out of control. How do we balance a time of excess and a time of quiet? A time of Christ’s physical manifestation in the world and a time of abandonment? 

For our 2021 Advent series, we will share reflections from staff writers as well as members of our wider community. Our authors come from students at Harvard College, graduate students, affiliates, professors, and alumni. As we read through these ancient lectionary passages that proclaim the good news even in darkness, we look forward to examining afresh what advent means to us, and sharing that journey with you. 

-The Ichthus Editorial Team

Image: First of four advent candles lit at Christ Church Cambridge, MA


1 Daily Scripture readings