ADVENT – A SEASON OF PREPARATION
In The American Heritage Dictionary, Advent is defined as “the coming or arrival, especially of something awaited or momentous.” In the liturgical calendar, the season of Advent marks the beginning of a new church year. Advent comes from the Latin word “adventus,” which means coming or arrival.
While the origin and date of when the liturgical Advent season was first observed is undetermined and uncertain, it is said to have had its beginnings somewhere around 400-500.
At that time, Advent could be as long as six or more weeks, but gradually the church in Rome reduced it to the way we know it today—four weeks. And generally there will be four Sundays between Thanksgiving and Christmas. There are only two exceptions and that is if Thanksgiving Day falls on November 22nd or 23rd, there will be an “extra” Sunday before the season of Advent begins as was the case this past week.
Today we should use this period as a time of preparation as we get ready to celebrate the birthday of Jesus. There are many things that can distract us during this period: decorating our homes for Christmas, buying Christmas presents for family and friends, attending Christmas parties, watching all of the college football bowl games which seem to grow in number each year, and other events. Let me say right here that there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of them, and I enjoy them too, but we need to keep our minds focused at all times on what the Advent season is about.
Oftentimes, the four candles on the Advent wreath are associated with four things that Advent is: Christ being the light of the world, Christ bringing peace to the world, Christ bringing joy to the world, and Christ bringing love to the world.
I hope that this season of Advent will be a very meaningful time for all of you and since I cannot personally come around to each of you individually, let me wish you and yours a blessed Christmas season with peace and happiness in your families and in your homes as we celebrate the birth of Jesus. And may the blessings of this season carry over as we enter 2018!
God bless and a Merry Christmas to all!