Advent is a season of waiting and expectation for Christmas – the birth of Christ, the Nativity of Our Lord. We prepare our homes and hearts for four weeks before Christmas. Advent is also the beginning of a new liturgical season. It concludes a long period of Ordinary Time and leads us into the new church year with hope and patience in preparation for Christmas.
This season was likely first celebrated in the fifth century, originating from the tradition of fasting several times a week, beginning on St. Martin de Tours’ Feast Day (November 11) and concluding on Christmas Day. Nowadays, Advent always starts about four weeks before Christmas, on the Sunday closest to St. Andrew’s Feast Day (November 30).
Advent has been, and is still today, a penitential season. It may not feel that way with all the lights and songs and trees, but it is. It is meant for us to prepare our hearts for the coming of our Lord in a matter fitting to our calling in life. That is to say, to be as humble as the wise men offering their gifts at the manger; to be as obedient as the shepherds coming in from the fields; to be as reliant on the Will of our Father as Saint Joseph and our Blessed Mother were, giving birth in a stable. It is okay to enjoy the season and the festivities around us but not okay to get so swept up in the pleasures of the world so as to lose the obedience, humility, and reliance on God that makes this Season so special. If we do get caught up in it and forget the meaning of Christmas, it would be as if our Lord was being born in the manger, surrounded by the magi, shepherds, and the Holy Family and we simply walked by to go to a party.
Spend more time in prayer in the silence of the Nativity this Advent Season. Let us kneel before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and be grateful for the gift given to us in the birth of our Lord. Prepare your hearts and souls for the coming of the Lord!
May the Lord give you His Peace,