The Full Story
Advent is actually the beginning of the Christian Year, but for the sake of less confusion, we are featuring it in the conventional calendar.
Advent, or Christ’s Coming, is observed as a time of expectant waiting, praying, and preparation for the celebration of the birth of the Christ Child and is part of the wider Christmas and holiday season. It encompasses the four Sundays and weekdays leading us to the celebration of Christmas.
The Advent season is a time of preparation and prayer that directs our hearts and minds to Christ’s second coming and to our Lord’s birth on Christmas.
Advent includes an element of penance in the sense of preparing, quieting, and disciplining our hearts for the full joy of Christmas.
Practices associated with Advent include keeping an Advent calendar, lighting the candles of an Advent wreath, and praying an Advent daily devotional.
The Advent wreath, created out of evergreens, symbolizes everlasting life in the midst of winter. The four candles represent hope, faith, joy, and peace. Three of the candles are purple and one is pink. A fifth white candle in the middle of the wreath celebrates Christ’s birth.
The Christmas story inspires wonder. An infant in a manger, a brilliantly shining star, and adoring shepherds are all familiar parts of the Christmas story. It is a time of light and joy.
“And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger because there was no place for them in the inn.