🔥Etymology Of The Term Advent
The English word “Advent” comes from the Latin word “Adventus”.
“Adventus” means “coming or arrival”.
It was used to describe the arrival of a Roman Emperor.
This arrival of the Emperor was marked with great preparation including putting things in order in the City or town expecting the Emperor.
The preparations were done amidst an atmosphere of expenditure joy among the people of the area.
It is quite similar to the preparations one makes prior to a visit by the president of the country to a village or of our Bishop to our parish or school.
In church usage “adventus” translates the Greek “parousia” which is understood to mean, “the second coming of Christ.”
🔥Advent As A Season In The Church’s Year (Its Duration)
Liturgically, advent is the first of the five seasons in the church’s year.
The period of advent is Four (4) weeks.
The number of days in the 4th week varies depending on when the season begins.
If advent begins as early as November 27th the 4th week will have seven days whereas if it begins as late as December 3rd there will be just a day in the 4th week.
🔥Purpose & Significance Of Advent
The season of Advent reminds us of the second coming of Christ in the church parlance.
Yet, it is not restricted to only this but has an added reference to the coming of Christ as a newborn baby at Christmas.
Therefore, the advent has a twofold character:
▪️First, the second coming of Christ the parousia and
▪️Second, the coming of Christ as a newborn baby at Christmas.
Pope Benedict XVI puts it beautifully by saying that:
In Advent Christians relive a dual impulse of the spirit:
On the one hand, they raise their eyes towards the final destination of their pilgrimage through history, which is the glorious return of the Lord Jesus; on the other remembering with emotion his birth in Bethlehem, they kneel before the crib.
In view of these twofold characters, the season of advent is divided into two minor periods:
▪️The first is from the first Sunday of advent to December 16th and
▪️The second is from December 17 to 24th.
Advent is a season during which we prepare as Christians to celebrate the coming great festival of Christmas when Christ’s birth or his first coming is marked in style.
This immediate preparation towards Christ’s birth is the focus of the second week of the season, and it starts in earnest on December 17 and ends on December 24.
The second character of advent is similar and closely knitted to the first.
In this second sense, it focuses on the second coming of Christ.
So advent is the reminder to us that as long as we live on Earth, we must constantly be ready for Christ who came and will come again.
Advent calls on all of us, therefore, to prepare and be ready like the wise virgins (Matt. 25:1-14), when Christ comes.
🔥Some Features That Are Special To The Advent Season.
The season of Advent has these unique features:
▪️The season’s tone is joyful, but not with the full joy found in the Christmas season.
▪️Little or no flowers are placed upon the Altar during the Advent season.
▪️Marriages and other celebrations must be celebrated in a low-key manner to reflect the penitential character of the season.
▪️The “Gloria” (“Glory to God in the Highest”) is not said or sung during Advent.
The only exception to this rule is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (December 8).
▪️The Priests and other sacred ministers wear violet-colored vestments throughout Advent, and rose-colored vestments on the Third Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday).
▪️Another optional feature of the Advent season is the blessing and lighting of the Advent wreath.
🔥Para-Liturgical Practices Associated with Advent
☘️Advent Wreath & Candles
The use of the wreath and candles during Advent is a longstanding Catholic tradition that was originally adopted by Christians in the Middle Ages as part of their spiritual preparation for Christmas.
The wreath and candles are full of symbolism tied to the Christmas season.
The wreath itself, which is made of various evergreens, signifies continuous life.
The circle of the wreath, which has no beginning or end symbolizes
▪️The eternity of God who is the Alpha & Omega
▪️The immortality of the soul and
▪️The everlasting life we find in Christ.
The candles also have their own special significance.
The four candles represent the four weeks of Advent, and one candle is lit each Sunday.
Three of the candles are purple because the colour violet is a liturgical colour that signifies a time of prayer, penance, and sacrifice.
The first candle, which is purple, symbolizes hope.
It is sometimes called the “Prophecy Candle” in remembrance of the prophets, especially Isaiah, who foretold the birth of Christ.
It represents the expectation felt in anticipation of the coming Messiah.
The second candle, also purple, represents faith.
It is called the “Bethlehem Candle” as a reminder of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem.
The third candle is pink and symbolizes joy.
It is called the “Shepard’s Candle,” and is pink because rose is a liturgical colour for joy.
The third Sunday of Advent is Gaudete Sunday and is meant to remind us of the joy that the world experienced at the birth of Jesus, as well as the joy that the faithful have reached the midpoint of Advent.
On the fourth week of Advent, we light the final purple candle to mark the final week of prayer and penance as we wait for the birth of our Saviour.
This final candle, the “Angel’s Candle,” symbolizes peace.
It reminds us of the message of the angels:
“Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men”.
Through modern adaptation, a white candle is sometimes placed in the middle of the wreath and lit on Christmas Eve.
This candle is called the “Christ Candle” and represents the life of Christ.
The colour white is for purity—because Christ is our sinless, pure Saviour.
Let us have a Spirit-Filled Season
Obeng Dansoh, A. (2014). The Liturgical Seasons: A Hand Book For Catholics To
Understand & Live Fruitfully
Throughout The Church’s Year. Wiawso: Kumasi Catholic Press.
Poblocki, R. (n.d). The Season of Advent. Retrieved from https//:www.thestationof thecross.com > …