Advent and Kiahk
The month of Kiahk in the Coptic church depicts celebrating the events related to the Advent and the birth of Lord Jesus. Each of the four weeks of Kiahk focuses on a specific event and its importance in preparing the world to receive the Word of God, having taken our human body to grant us eternal salvation.
In the first week of Kiahk we celebrate the Archangel Gabriel appearing to Zakaraiah the old priest and telling him about the coming of his son John ‘Your prayers have been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will give birth to your son and you must name him John.” In the second week, we celebrate the Archangel Gabriel announcing to Virgin Mary the coming of Lord Jesus ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you,… nothing is impossible for God’. In the third week, we celebrate the holy visitation of Virgin Mary to Elizabeth who disclosed her secret ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”. In the fourth week, we celebrate the birth of John and the miracle of Zakariah speaking and prophesying of the mission of his son John ‘And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High, for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him and to give his people the knowledge of salvation.’.
In a glimpse of an eye, one can see the sequence of the above events and how they culminate together in preparing believers to celebrate the advent of the Lord Jesus the Saviour of the World. The Christian churches all over the world join in celebrating the Advent and its events with lights and decorations, Christmas carols and trees as well as by lighting a special candle for each of the four weeks of advent. We too in the Coptic Church have celebrations similar to the Christmas carols in the form of Saturday night vigils which include many beautiful praises and biblical readings that prepare us to celebrate the birth of the Saviour. In addition, the melodies of the daily praises change depending on the day of the week, Adam or Watos. The idea behind this change is to remind the believers of the special importance of the month of Kiahk and its effect on their lives. The distinct and unique melodies of that blessed month highlight the importance of a spiritual atmosphere and fill our hearts with joy and reverence as part of our Christmas preparation.
Beloved Reader, come and be part of the Coptic Church celebration of the Advent. Even if you never had the chance to experience it before or if you do not like music, believe that God of the impossibles is able to touch your heart and mind and make you a recipient of his word and promises in your own way. You will find tens of biblical readings and reconciling messages that fill the heart with joy and hope. Even if there is an obstacle that you think is hindering you to enjoy preparing yourself to receive the Saviour, be sure that He will hold your right hand and overcome it as he did above. If have you live far away from church, please activate the Kiahk apps on your phone and dedicate a few minutes every day to meditate and pray for for yourself and for the non-believing and barren world while preparing itself to receive the Saviour who loved it unconditionally.
Have a blessed Kiahk 2019
Prof Michael Henein