08 December 2008

Advent

It's been a month since my last post... Finally tonight I felt like writing something, but not like proofreading it or making it sound good. Happy Advent!
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Advent is one of my favorite seasons. I’m afraid that makes me in the minority… since most people are not really celebrating it. For many people, Christmas comes the day after Thanksgiving and ends on the 25th. As Catholics, though, we should remember that Christmas begins on Christmas Eve and ends later in January! The time from about the beginning of December to Christmas Eve is the season of Advent. I believe that all Christians could benefit from a greater appreciation of this season.


Advent comes from the Latin to come to. The One who comes is obviously Christ, our Savior. In the Advent season we prepare for this coming through various means- chief among them the Holy Mass. The amazing thing, though, is that Advent is much more than just a remembrance of Christmas and preparing for the coming of the Christ Child. From the Catholic Encyclopedia:

During Advent, the faithful are admonished to prepare themselves worthily to celebrate the anniversary of the Lord’s coming into the world as the incarnate God of love, thus to make their souls fitting abodes for the Redeemer coming in Holy Communion and through grace, and thereby to make themselves ready for His final coming as judge, at death and at the end of the world.

So with Advent, we think about both the first and second comings (advents) of Christ. All the while, we have Him here in our midst- Emmanuel, God with us. In the Word of God proclaimed, where two or three (or more of course) are gathered in His name, His Holy Spirit within us, and above all in the Most Holy Eucharist.

When we look at the first coming of Christ, we place ourselves in the shoes of the world waiting for the Messiah. The Old Testament is full of men who prophesied the coming anointed one who would redeem the world. One way to go back in time and look toward Our Lord’s first coming is by assisting at Mass, where the prayers are taken directly from Scripture. During the Advent season, many of the words taken from the Bible are prophesies of Christ’s coming.

By looking back to look forward to Christ’s first coming, we are reminded of His future second coming. Christ will come again at the end of the world, but perhaps for us we will meet Him sooner- at our deaths. For this reason, many of the prayers taken from Sacred Scripture serve a second purpose- to remind us that we will soon be with the Lord. We must make ourselves ready for that meeting- for both the particular and general judgments. We need to live our lives in accordance with God’s will so we will be reading for the second advent of Our Lord. Advent is an especially good time to think about our lives, how we are serving God, how we could do better… and about our deaths, our judgment, heaven, and hell.

“Brethren, knowing the time, that it is now the hour for us to rise from sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we believed. The night is past, and the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light.” – Romans 13:11-12

Come quickly, Lord Jesus! Come in glory!