'Thou hast ascended in glory O Christ our God, granting joy to Thy disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit. Through the blessing they were assured that Thou art the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world.'
The Ascension of our Lord, like all feasts of the Church, is not simply a celebration of a particular event, but rather a celebration of an eternal reality. Today we celebrate the reality of Christ's glorification, and receive the promise of the Holy Spirit, assuring us that the Lord's presence is indeed with us. Christ ascends into Heaven to be glorified with God the Father; consequently granting us our own glorification with Him. By sacrificing Himself for us, our Lord ascends in glory to 'prepare a place,' for His faithful people, as 'that where I am you may be also' (John 14:3).
'While He blessed them, He parted from them, and was carried up into Heaven. And they returned to Jerusalem with great joy.' (Luke 24:51-52)
Christ's ascension is His final physical departure from this world, forty days after His glorious Resurrection. It is the completion of His ministry on earth, as our Saviour and Messiah; once again reassuring His disciples that He is indeed the living God and Messiah, having trampled down upon death, granting us His life.
'To them He presented Himself alive after His passion by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days..' (Acts 1:3)
The icon of the ascension, depicts heaven and earth. The top (heaven) is in order, emphasising God's perfect, eternal home, prepared for us; and the bottom (earth) in confusion. There is however an exception - Christ's Mother, who is not confused. Rather, she represents the whole Church. Christ is shown blessing His Church, with His disciples and faithful waiting for the descent of the Holy and Life Giving Spirit on Pentecost.