Merry Christmas, everyone! This year was the first time Andrew and I made concerted efforts toward celebrating Advent during Advent and waiting for Christmas to put up the tree and hang stockings with care. I have to say, the whole … Continue reading
Happy Liturgical New Year!! My friend Julie posted this today: Advent in 2 Minutes – nice, simple explanation with plenty of clarity!
Hey Everyone! Advent starts tomorrow – Happy New Year! Check out this great post from Healthy Family to do your very own Jesse Tree this year. The site offers full-color or black-and-white images for your child(ren) to color, too. These … Continue reading
The theme for this week?? ADVENT. We have just a few days before the Christian New Year and here is some great food for thought from fellow blogger Bridget Green as you prepare for this awesome season:
This may sound like an odd question, but, with Advent beginning in a little over a week, have you considered what you are “giving up” for Advent? Now, before you get all “Christmas is a season of joy and celebrations, not deprivation!” on me, I have a couple of things to say. First, you are absolutely right. Christmas is a season a joy, one in which we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior. It can and should be characterized by singing, eating, gift giving, parties, and general merriment. Second, we’re talking about Advent right now. You know, that little four week (or so) season leading up to Christmas, and Advent is a season that is sprinkled with a healthy dose of penitence. Allow me to elaborate.
Have you really stopped and thought about what Advent is? From the Latin, it means literally “to come to” (ad-venio). What are we to come to? Or Who are we waiting on to come to us? The answer is, of course, Christ, but we are not, as is commonly misconceived, preparing solely for His birth. That already happened, over 2000 years ago. We are, in reality, to use the season of Advent to prepare for the second coming of Christ, or the Last Judgement.
When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior’s first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming…” — Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), #524 (emphasis mine)
With this perspective in mind, that we are preparing for the end of time where Christ comes as a Judge and not specifically for the birth of Christ where He comes as a tiny infant, all of the penitential touches that surround the celebration of Advent make a great deal more sense. The purple vestments and altar cloths and candles, the rose color in the midst of it all to remind us to keep hope, the lack of the Gloria and floral decorations on the altar (no, we’re not supposed to decorate the churchbefore Christmas Eve, regardless of what the decorating committee says), the limited use of the organ, all call to mind a truly penitential season: Lent. Advent differs from Lent, however, in that we are not required to practice any specific penance.
It’s not required, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea. If we are supposed to be preparing for our own final judgement, mightn’t we want to spend some time, in between the caroling and the eggnog, reflecting on our own sins and trying, in some small way, to atone for them? Perhaps a little sacrifice here or there in Advent will help make the joyous season of Christmas even more joyful, just as those trifling things we do without during Lent make the celebration of Easter all the better. At the very least, it can’t hurt. After all, have you ever heard of a sacrifice made from a loving heart that was turned down by our Father in heaven? Neither have I.
With just under a week left before the Christian New Year(!), my mind is lately fixed on December, shopping, and decor; but I think I’ll try a shift in focus this year. Without a doubt, December is my favorite month. … Continue reading