Reflections On The Journey
The History of Advent
|Posted on November 27, 2022 at 7:00 PM|
Monday Meditation – History of Advent - 11/28/2022
Yesterday we began the Advent season. Advent is an important journey over the four weeks leading up to Christmas. During Advent we prepare for the coming of Christ in the flesh, and also for the Second Coming of Christ as Judge at the Last Day. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) states “When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah…by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior’s first coming the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming.” (CCC, 524).
Do you know the history of Advent? Thanks to the weekly email I get from my church I learned a lot!
“Advent first appeared in the 4th C. in Spain where it extended from December 17 to Epiphany since the date for Christmas had not yet been set at December 25. The first liturgical reference to Advent in the West appears in the 6th century. The Gelasian Sacramentary, composed in the 8th Century, contains Collects, Epistles and Gospels for the five Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays before Christmas, and the season was six weeks long. It was Pope Gregory the Great who decreed Advent should be four weeks long. The season now begins on the Sunday closest to the feast of St. Andrew, November 30, and it is the beginning of a new liturgical year. In the Eastern or Orthodox Church, the season is longer, beginning in mid-November.” (St. John Neumann email 11/25/22)
Are you planning anything special this year for Advent as you prepare for Christmas? Some people choose to light an Advent wreath, one candle for each Sunday. Others say extra prayers (which is one of the things that I will do, thanks to a little blue booklet distributed by one of my church sisters.) Advent calendars are also popular, where you open one “window” each day. There are many themes for these calendars – some have little gifts, others have prayers or thoughts, and still others have little kindnesses you can do. Any of these things (and many others) can bring you a blessing or two as you travel through Advent.
I encourage you to choose something special to do during the four weeks of Advent this year. Maybe it’s saying some extra prayers or doing something kind for others. Or perhaps you have an opportunity to give extra gifts to those in need or add more to the charity causes you regularly support. Whatever you choose, ideally it will be something over and above what you do during normal weeks. The important thing is to prepare your heart for Jesus – clean out your heart (maybe go to confession?), open yourself to His love, and then spread that love to others. The blessings of Advent and Christmas await those who prepare!
Have a blessed Monday!
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