With so much going on, it snuck up on me that today is the First Sunday of Advent – the preparation time before Christmas. I walked into church and was surprised to see the Advent Wreath.
Our priest, Father Brian mentioned that as he was growing up in Western Pennsylvania, Catholics didn’t use Advent wreaths. Advent wreaths were a Protestant custom. In Northwest Ohio, either we did use Advent Wreaths or my memory has decided to alter the past and believe we did.
It really doesn’t matter. What matters is what we do through whatever avenue we communicate with God. Do we place Him where He belongs? Do we look out for those who need our care and support? Do we try to do what’s right even if it’s not easy or popular? However we celebrate – with a Menorah, an Advent Wreath, a prayer wheel, worry beads, whatever – let’s just do some good.
We owe it to each other. We owe it to Him.
Posted in Culture, Future, History, Holidays, People, Philosophy, Religion
Tagged Advent, Advent wreath, Catholic Church, Christmas, Northwest Ohio, Western Pennsylvania, Wreath
(ˈædvɛnt, -vənt) an arrival or coming, esp one which is awaited [C12: from Latin adventus, from advenīre , from ad- to + venīre to come] – World English Dictionary
Thanks to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, PA
Advent is celebrated by many Christians as the time before Christmas, including the four Sundays preceding the holiday. In the Catholic Church not only is an Advent wreath used, which has 3 purple candles and one rose colored but also the priest’s vestments are of the same colors. The purple signifies preparation by prayer and fasting, and focuses on the fact that Jesus’ coming is a gift – not something for which we are worthy.
The third Sunday is called Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete means “Rejoice” in Latin and was the first word of the entrance prayer which was formerly sung or read in Latin. For Gaudete Sunday, the priest’s vestments are rose*.
While Advent is encouraged as a time of reflection, prayer and good works, it is also a time of joy. These days, in a secular world, we’ve got the joy down pat, but sometimes seem to forget that we should prepare spiritually for Christmas as well.
Mankind looked forward to the arrival of a Savior for thousands of years. Of course, we expected a great leader in the political sense who would out-Moses Moses and out-David King David.
Jesus instead came as a common man. A common man with an important message. You don’t even have to be a believer to see the importance of His words, their wisdom and their goodness.
But those of us who are believers also know that the most important gift was that He renewed the full relationship between us and God. This was more important than any military victory.
So as you’re listening to Christmas music on the radio, trimming the tree or wrapping gifts, let it be your very soul that is feeling the joy.
* And invariably the priest points out at the beginning of Mass that “This color is ‘rose’ not ‘pink’.”
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Tagged Advent, Advent wreath, Catholic Church, Christmas, Gaudete Sunday, Jesus, Latin, Sunday