Advent is a four-week season starting our liturgical year. A time to prepare ourselves for the coming of the feast of the Lord’s birth.
The word Advent means “coming”. Advent is waiting for the coming of Jesus Christ. It has a two-fold purpose. The first: it prepares us for Christmas, our joyous celebration of the first coming of Christ into our lives. The second: It keeps our eyes focused on the second and definitive coming of Christ.
But there is another kind of Advent — waiting for the Lord’s coming into our hearts as we try to live each day as Christ did. It speaks of the coming of Christ in our day-to-day life experiences.
Advent is a moment of devout and joyful expectation, a time of hope as our hearts throb in eagerness awaiting for the coming of Christ.
Tradition has it that we celebrate this season with various practices. We have Advent Wreath — a wreath with four candles — three violets and one rose candle. This wreath finds a place in chapels, churches and on dinner tables. Each candle is lighted corresponding to the week of Advent. A white candle is normally placed in the middle and it is lighted at Christmas Eve.
We also have the tradition of singing Christmas carols, of putting up Christmas lights and Christmas trees and of exchanging Christmas cards and gifts. These traditional customs become more meaningful if inspired by the basic spiritual essence of the feast. The center of all these practices is Jesus and the reliving of the time of his coming and the hope it brings.
As we celebrate this season of Advent, we are invited to prepare ourselves spiritually for Christmas.
Source: Roman Missal