On Sunday, November 28th, we begun the new year in the liturgical Calendar of the Catholic Church, celebrating the FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT.
Advent always starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas; this year on Sunday, November 28th and concludes on Friday, December 24th. read further…
The word ‘advent’ comes from the Latin ‘advenio’, meaning ‘to come to’, and refers to the coming of Christ. The term ‘coming’ includes three references: first of all, to our celebration of Christ’s birth at Christmas; second, to the coming of Christ in our lives through grace and the Sacraments (especially of Holy Communion); and finally, to his second coming to us, at the moment of our death or at the end of time (whichever comes first).
Advent is meant to be a time of faith, hope, joy, and peace. The Advent season remind us that God sent His Son to this world so that we might have a relationship with Him. Yet, Jesus also suffers with us and helps us navigate our pain. Advent reveals God’s faithfulness in His promises. The world needs genuine hope as creation longs for Jesus’ return. Advent helps us look beyond our current problems. Instead, we can focus on God’s promises. Without Advent, we don’t get the opportunity to consider the beginning and end of our invitation on earth and the bigger invitation of being with Jesus forever.
Through Advent, we can prepare our hearts for Jesus’ eventual return. Our preparations should have all three comings in mind. We need to prepare our souls to receive Jesus Christ worthily, being in the state of sanctifying grace (after a good Confession).
Perhaps the best-known of all Advent symbols is the Advent wreath. Consisting of four candles (three purple and one pink) arranged in a circle with evergreen boughs (and often a fifth, white candle in the centre), the Advent wreath corresponds to the four Sundays of Advent. The purple candles represent the penitential nature of the season, while the pink candle calls to mind the respite of ‘Gaudete’ Sunday. The white candle, when used, represents Christmas.