• Caroline Harden-Old

Thoughts for Advent

I recently read an Advent Article from Penelope Wilcock (who lives in Hastings), in it she talks about the Churches oldest hymn as a third Century Greek Vesper called ’Phos Hilaron’

Phos means bearer of light (phosphorus)

Hilaron means Joyful (Hilarity)

The hymn opens with the words:

“Hail gladdening light, of His pure glory poured out, who is the immortal Father, heavenly, blest, Holiest of Holies, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

It was traditionally sung in the evening at the kindling of the lamps. The flame shows the hope of the risen Lord.



At this time of year I think of the many Christmas lights strung up and down streets and at the sides of houses. Each string with its many shapes and colours can represent humanity and can shine in the dark winters night as a sign of hope whatever season you find yourself in. They cut through the night like the light of Christ that rises from the tomb.

Throughout Advent, why not light a candle at dusk, think of those whom you miss and softly say “Phos Hilaron“ -The light and joy of God.

As we prepare for Christmas, you might want to consider news ways to journey with God through:

Books like https://www.ionabooks.com/product/advent-readings-from-iona/


Christmas devotion plans:

Or just get outside in the fresh air and do some random acts of kindness or pray for your local community during a walk!

For your regular time along with God, get your Bible out and get in touch! Maybe you could consider using a different style for your bible studies:

Lectio Divina



Here are some verses you may want to look through:

  • Luke 2:7-9

  • Luke 2:19

  • Psalm 59:16

  • Psalm 147:11

  • Hebrews 11:1

  • Matthew 2:1-12

My approach to Lectio is slow reading: I read slowly enough to utter and hear at the same time. As I read, I listen. As I listen, I read and hear.


Read as if this was the first time ever - What word or phrase strikes me, what I haven't noticed before..


Read the passage again (maybe using a different Bible version) - I listen for a word of Christ to me.


Read the passage again for the third time, I am attentive to a word from Christ that calls me to act.


Ask yourself, what have you learnt about God I reflect on this passage and how it applies to me today

Finally, I pray that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all now and ever more. Amen

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