What is Advent and Why You Should Know

The Season of Advent is a liturgical season of the Church. It is the time set aside for preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord and Redeemer.

Newsroom (12/02/2022 18:00, Gaudium Press) Advent comes from the Latin term “ad-venio”, which means “to come, to arrive”. It begins with the Sunday closest to the Feast of St Andrew (30 November) and lasts for four weeks.

This liturgical season has its beginning four Sundays before December 25. It marks the beginning of the new Catholic Liturgical Year, and this
year, Advent began on Sunday, 27 November.


The Advent Season is divided into two parts:
the first two weeks serve to meditate on the coming of the Lord when the end of the world will occur;
the following two weeks are for reflecting concretely on the birth of Jesus and His arrival in the history of humanity with the coming of the Holy Christmas Season.

Preparation, Waiting, Desiring

In Churches and Catholic family homes, Advent wreaths are set out and four candles are placed within it and lit weekly, one at a time.

The liturgical colour of the vestments of the priest and the altar cloths is purple, thus symbolically expressing preparation and penitence.

An exception is for the third Sunday, called Gaudete Sunday, or Sunday of Joy, when the colour is pink.

Within the Advent liturgy, to make this double preparation of waiting more pronounced, some festive elements are suppressed. For example, the Gloria is neither sung nor proclaimed.

By these symbolic acts, the Church seeks to show that, while man’s pilgrimage endures, something is lacking for his complete enjoyment.

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When Our Lord and Redeemer is present in the midst of His people, the Church will have reached her full feast, represented by the Solemnity of Christmas.

Attitudes of Catholics

Many Catholics are aware of the existence within the Church of the Season of Advent, but, caught up in worries at work, exams at school, rehearsals for the choir or the Christmas play, setting up the nativity scene, and buying presents cause many to forget the true meaning of the Season.

Thus, it is necessary to remember that the main preparation in this Season should be inside each one of us, that being the preparation and waiting for the coming of the Child Jesus.

In the Season of Advent, the Church makes an appeal, an invitation to Christians to live in a deeper way some specific practices of piety, such as: vigilance in faith, the practice of prayer, the search for the recognition of Christ present in events and in our brothers and sisters; conversion, endeavoring to do right and amend our lives, following the ways of the Lord, and following Jesus towards the Kingdom of the Father.

Advent also reminds us and invites us to practice the witness of the joy that Jesus brings; patient and loving charity towards others; joy, in the joyful expectation of the coming Christ and in the invincible certainty that He will not fail.

Advent is a time to live an interior poverty with the disposition to have a heart available for God, just as Mary, Joseph, John the Baptist, Zechariah, and Elizabeth had. (JSG)

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Compiled by Sandra Chisholm

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