Today we begin our solemn journey through the Advent season. It is a liturgical season filled with charged expectant waiting in preparation for the coming feast of the Nativity of our Lord at Christmas. The very word Advent comes to us from the Latin word,” adventus,” meaning “coming.” The Latin word was really a translation from the Greek word “parousia,” a word commonly used to refer to the Second Coming of Christ at the end of the temporal world.
In the first movement of Advent our readings are charged with the Church’s longing for the parousia, when Christ will come upon the clouds as he is recognized by the world as the Universal King and Judge. The second movement of Advent moves toward the fulfillment of Jewish hope for the Savior or Messiah, as we await the celebration of his Nativity.
We light the candles on our Advent wreath on each Sunday of our journey. The first Sunday we read about the patriarchs, Christ’s ancestors in the faith: so some call the first candle – hope. The second Sunday we read the prophesies of the Messiah: so some call the second candle – the way. The third Sunday, called Gaudete Sunday, marks the middle point in our journey, the readings speak of John the Baptist and some call this third candle – joy. The fourth Sunday we read the story of the Annunciation and some call this candle – the Angel’s.
Hopefully, many of you at home will bring the observance of Advent into your homes by keeping an Advent calendar or the lighting of an advent candle. Let us keep this sacred vigil as a parish and a family so that we can celebrate with joy the commemoration of his birth, as we await the consummation of history and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ!