This ornament shows Jack Skellington, from the movie “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” wearing a Santa Claus outfit. Jack is sitting on a large book, being held in the arms of an angel. This is an unusual ornament with which to start an Advent journey, I’ll admit, but I chose this ornament because it represents the truth of the human condition. It shows where we all start. Every one of us is like a skeleton, not fully enfleshed, not fully human, doomed to sin that leads to death. The angel herself appears to emphasize the inevitability of death, in that she looks like she belongs in a cemetery, watching over some gravestones.
But there is hope! In fact, this hope has been foretold in that very book which the angel is holding. As the Gospel of Luke tells us "In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you."
Heaven has begun to act on our behalf. The Angel Gabriel has been sent to the one who has been prepared to receive God. The lamentation of Jack - and by extension the entire human race - has been heard and answered. Help is on the way.
When we look at the Advent story that ends with Christmas, then, the angel above changes from a harbinger of doom to a herald of hope. She promises to lift up all those who believe in the Word Made Flesh, changing those outer garments of red and white worn by Jack into an interior state of mercy and cleanliness. That's the promise of Advent, and we begin this journey today.
This blog page is a slightly different type of Advent calendar. Using ornaments, Scripture and poetry for reflection, we journey through the 28 days of Advent 2022 to Christmas morning, and the Incarnation of Christ.