ADVENT AS AN INITATION FOR THE COMING OF CHRIST
Bro. Ted Tuvera
In Christian traditions, four Sundays before the actual celebration of Christmas – popularly (but not exactly) a remembrance of the incarnation of the ‘Word of God’ in flesh through Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ – a four-week preparation called ‘Advent’ is laid.
Advent, for the exoteric faithful, is the means of preparing for the coming of Christ. With this said, I will thus make an attempt of first discussing the two implications of the “(second) coming of Christ” which are:
- the actual reincarnation of Christ which is expected by the popular believers as an event where Jesus comes down from heaven in glory to give the “last judgment” as narrated by the Book of Revelation written by Apostle Saint John in the island of Patmos when he was in great ecstasy – but for the esoteric and Gnostic students of Universal traditions, this is rather the upcoming incarnation of a new world teacher comparable to the Lords Krishna, Buddha and Jesus which we might collectively subject to as the ‘Maitreya’ who hails from the Great Fraternity of Adepts (the order of the masters of Wisdom, who are mostly founders or saints of different sacred traditions) that will give new enlightenment to the current world as the Lords did during their respective generations – some postulate that the Maitreya’s incarnation takes place every 2,000 years, and;
- the re-birth of Christ in the minds and hearts of men, which challenges the believer to live in thoughts, in words and in deeds the teachings of the Master Jesus – which, again, for the theosophist may mean as the unveiling of the Higher Self that is but hindered by the individual’s vegetative, sentient and limitedly rational existence which blinds man from the “God within”.
Before dwelling towards the matter moreover, the season of Advent is made-up of intelligent symbolisms which are harmoniously allegorical to both the exoteric and esoteric values it serves. It must disclaimed earlier that some of these symbolisms might seem pagan to the conservative reader as it is really such rooted from pagan traditions that were “Christianized” as the religion emerged in Europe some one thousand years ago.
It must also be noted that in the course of human evolution – in the rational sense – there are traditions that are clarified and further verified as a new enlightened master emerges: such is the case of Buddhism as an off-spring of Hinduism, and Christianity from Neo-Platonic, Ancient Egyptian and Jewish traditions. All the “modern traditions” that the vast public recognize evolved from different ancient traditions.
As the symbolisms are truly many, I shall enlist what is deemed to be obviously popular.
(The Advent Ring/Wreath) A green plant arranged in a circular pattern with three purple candles ought to be lit on the first, second and fourth Sundays along with a pink on the third, that is displayed on Christian Church altars.
The green color on the plant symbolizes the vegetative nature of our life. This encourages the faithful to grow in vitality in the preparation of the coming of Christ.
The circular pattern is a pretty obvious symbol that reminds the public of a cycle called life. To the students of Wisdom, this cycle goes beyond the current incarnation as it could even be considered as a pattern for our Oneness in the certainty of Life – through involution and evolution, thus, reincarnation.
The candles are more than just markers for Advent Sundays as the color purple is presented as the color of genuine preparation for initiation towards the coming of the Eternal – in Catholic funeral and Lent liturgies, as in Advent, it is the color of the vestments worn – as it represents repentance at the feet of the Holy of Holies. Whereas, the pink candle for the third Sunday of Advent represents the flock’s joy, excitement and purity in the presence of Christ’s twofold manifestation.
The liturgical hymn, “O’ Come Emmanuel” is quite telling as it narrates a nation’s pilgrimage in the hope that salvation and liberation is near.
Finally, Emmanuel – the title ought to be given to the babe who is to be born in the town of David – means “God with us”. At this point, it must be clear, that the season of Advent is truly an invitation for initiation – with the help of the basic semiotic expositions – for the coming of Christ, which we must define clearly as the unfolding of the “Emmanuel”, of the ‘God within’, of the Atmic Spirit in man as to, thus, fulfill man’s evolution towards perfection.
It must be clarified that I am not particularly referring ‘Christ’ conservatively and exclusively to Jesus of Nazareth. To articulate my thought, I shall invoke what Mme. Helena P. Blavatsky, founder of the Theosophical Society, has noted in the Theosophical Glossary:
“The terms Christ... (was) borrowed from the Temple vocabulary of the Pagans. Chrestos (the root word) meant in the vocabulary a disciple on probation, a candidate for hierophantship. When he had attained to this through initiation, long trials, and suffering, and had been "anointed" (i.e., "rubbed with oil", as were Initiates and even idols of the gods, as the last touch of ritualistic observance), his name was changed into Christos, the "purified", in esoteric or mystery language.”
Therefore, the “coming of Christ” in this piece means waiting for the coming of a revelation that shall thus manifest upon the individual’s initiation in the Holy of Holies – an invitation for us to discover our higher potentials: to awaken the so-called “Christ consciousness” in us, that we may become elected in the sacred, fraternal order of the adepts.
Now, the season of Advent is a period of recollection, meditation and preparation for us to embark on this spiritually evolutionary journey in our initiation – an occult initiation that is said to be dangerous to the neophyte who would carelessly enroll himself in such an order. As initiation, in the words of Geoffrey Hodson in his book, ‘Called to the Heights’:
“In order to be promoted from the Lesser to the Greater Mysteries… one has to undergo psychological and physical tests. At present, one has to undergo psychological and moral tests to show that one has self-mastery.
“The greatest and most difficult to develop of all the qualities of Initiates is total selflessness all throughout the spiritual path.”
Advent, dear friends, be it in our esoteric and exoteric understanding (of Christmas) is a season that prepares and invites us to the great spiritual election – that practically demands altruism and compassion towards our brothers and sisters in need. Yes, we students of the Divine Wisdom must practice the example taught to us by Jesus, the Christ, who is truly indeed, semantically comparable to Christmas, a Christ for the masses. We must not forget that total selflessness is not escaping the material world corrupted with war, poverty and oppression, but rather being the Light to the world, to the masses that we may lead them towards their own spiritual enlightenment – for if we deviate ourselves from the masses, we might merely be seen (with guilt) as false-prophets, or as weird and haughty preachers.
On Advent this year, let us meditate on preparing ourselves for greater journeys – be it physical, emotional or spiritual that we may be ready and fit for its positive or negative consequences.