The Church’s liturgical year begins with Advent, and every end of the Calendar year – weeks before Christmas we notice changes. The priest puts on different colors and the entire altar is graced with a whole new air. But very few know what this word actually means.
A Latin word from whence the word “Advent” is coined, which means “coming” or “arrival”. In Christian usage this “arrival” refers to the birth of Jesus.
This period of the Church however has a double meaning. St Jerome has been known to also render the Greek “Parousia” as “Advent” which word refers more to the Second Coming of Jesus at the end of the world. The Catechism of the Church puts it this way:
“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” – CCC 524
How to prepare:
Like every other times of the Church it is necessary to make efforts to be in the state of grace. The coming of Jesus at Christmas is more than just a memory of his physical birth, it also marks the beginning of our salvation. The begging of our spiritual revival; of new life. Therefore, what better way to commemorate than to “put on our wedding robe”?
Confession: By examining our consciences, confessing our sins we can be set free. Ready to receive Jesus not only by celebrating Christmas but also in Sacramental form so that he can be born in our hearts as well.
Reach out: Whenever there’s good news, what’s the first thing we’re inclined to do? Announce our joy ! Go around and announce the joys of Christmas, not necessarily by preaching but by reaching out to the poor. Forgiving injuries too, healing relationships, visiting family member etc. Show love, for this is the only way to pay God back for his freely-given graces.