The Season of Advent
The season of Advent is an important season in the Liturgical Calendar. The season of Advent begins the four weeks prior to Christmas.
The word Advent derives from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming”; it refers to the next season, Christmas.
Advent serves a number of purposes in the Church, two of them are:
- Advent begins the Church year. The First Sunday of Advent is the New Year’s Day of the Church’s liturgical year.
- More importantly, Advent is the liturgical period of preparation and penitence for the Christmas Season. It is not as somber as Lent, but it does call us to reflect upon the impending mystery of the Incarnation.
Are there any special practices performed during Advent?
- Advent calendar – a popular way to count down the days until Christmas, especially in families that have small children and in classrooms.
- Advent wreath – a wreath made of evergreens, usually. The wreath holds four equally spaced candles, the three purple ones lit on the “penitential” Sundays and a pink one for Gaudete Sunday, the joyful third Sunday in Advent.
- Jesse Tree – the Jesse tree tells about Christ’s ancestry through symbols and relates Scripture to salvation history, progressing from creation to the birth of Christ. The tree can be made on a poster board with the symbols glued on or use an actual tree.
How can a person make Advent a more meaningful season?
- Celebrate an Advent wreath ceremony on a weekly basis. There are many available prayers and hymns found on-line that could accompany this ceremony. See the list below.
- Have the smallest or youngest child in the family, on a daily basis, read a passage from Scripture that reflects the Advent calendar.
- Try to do readings from Scripture that associate with the theme of the season. Read from the prophet Isaiah, for example. Look in the missalette for the daily Mass readings.
- Attend daily Mass so that you can hear Scripture read and examined or interpreted.
- Attempt to pray the Divine Office on a daily basis.
- Blessing of an Advent Wreath – http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/sacraments-and-sacramentals/sacramentals-blessings/objects/blessing-of-an-advent-wreath.cfm
- The Religion Teacher – http://www.thereligionteacher.com/advent-activities/
- The Bible – http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0839/_INDEX.HTM
- Divine Office – http://divineoffice.org/
Inclusion of these sites does not mean that I and/or the parish endorse any view promoted by the website. Some of these websites offer materials for purchase; please do so at your own risk!