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A Time To Prepare

The Season of Advent, 2020
So, What Is This Season?
What Is Important About It?

For Christians, the present new year begins with the words of the Prophet Isaiah chapter 63. "O Lord, you are our father; we are the clay and you the potter: we are all the work of your hands." Herein, we recognize the center and focus of our lives. At least, we know what that focus ought to be. We often falter along the way of our lives. That is, we sin. However, by the grace of God we always may return to our focus on the Father and experience again His love. Thus, each year we start over re-focusing our lives. We do this along with our brothers and sisters in faith.

Once again, we begin our quest for that which makes us whole. We strive for fulfillment and fullness of life. Every year we repeat the seasons of the Church celebrating our lives in Christ and Christ's life in us. Once again, we will try to understand God is present in our personal and communal lives guiding each of us to the light of Love.

It is a three-year cycle of scripture readings that we follow. Each of the three years we read from one of the Synoptic Gospels. This year we are in "Year B", the Gospel of Mark. Mark will ask us again and again who we say Jesus Christ is. Often who we think He is, is not who He is. This will be God's challenge to us throughout this entire coming year. To know the true Jesus Christ, the Messiah, is the quest. The Gospel does not promise satisfaction and all good things in this life. It offers hope for our eternal life.

Yes, in Advent we also prepare for our celebration of Jesus Christ's first coming, that is Christmas. Yet, the celebration of Christmas is all done in the context of helping us to see God is good to his word. Therefore, God will be good to His word concerning Christ's second coming. On that day, all things will come together spiritually and may it be said, logically. The world will surrender itself to true Peace; peace by definition is fullness and fulfillment of life.

Together, the scripture readings of this first Sunday of the year beg God to come down and save us. We ask that he lead us and guide us to turn to Him again so that we may be found blameless when Christ returns in glory. We admit we need divine help, grace.

Directing our lives is the purpose of this season of Advent. Preparation for Christ's second coming, when we each account for our lives before God, is paramount. Yet, it is an anticipation of a joyful event, not one of trepidation. That is why we culminate the season by starting another one, the Christmas Season, with such great joy and fun-filled celebration.

Yes, the New Year of the Church begins in Advent. Once again, we begin our quest to know who Jesus is and then to know the Father through Him. Amen.

Some Spiritual and
Liturgical Norms of
the Season of Advent.

This season has a two-fold character. It is to prepare for Christ's second coming and to prepare to celebrate his first coming at Christmas. Therefore, this season is one of devout and joyful expectation.

The daily and weekend Masses have specially assigned prayers that are proper to the season. Further, this is true for the Liturgy of the Hours.

Advent begins the year with Evening Prayer I of Saturday, November 28th and ends after Midafternoon Prayer (None) on Christmas Eve. The use of musical instruments and decorations of the altar are to be done in a moderate manner. This includes during the celebration of Matrimony.

The official color of Advent is violet. This distinguishes it from the more specifically penitential season of Lent.

In Advent we recall the cry of the early Christians: Maranatha! "Come, Lord Jesus!"

The Advent Wreath is an important symbol in the church itself and in personal homes. Each Sunday the next candle is lit according to the week of observance. On Christmas the center white candle is lit as well symbolizing Jesus' birth. Christmas decorations, both in the church and in the home are reserved for the Christmas Season itself. Christmas lasts through the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

Meaning of the Advent Wreath

The branches of the wreath are “evergreen”, always fresh, new, and alive like God’s love. The shape of the wreath mirrors the blessed truth that God keeps being in the circle of the seasons and the cycle of the liturgical year. Contrary to the dimming lights of the sun and stars in the end times, the light of the Advent wreath grows brighter as Christ draws near.

What to Do With the Advent Wreath

Make a circle with evergreen, either live or artificial. Place three purple and one pink candle in the circle. Then place one white candle in the center of the wreath. This one stands for Christ and is lit at Christmas since that is the day we celebrate His birth. Light the first purple candle for the first week of Advent, then the second the second week. On the third week light the pink one and on the fourth week light the last purple one. Each day light your wreath, perhaps at dinner time. The whole family may pray whatever prayers you like. It may be the rosary or just a simple petition or other prayer you make up. Do this and see how the Lord will open up your family to greater joy and peace. In the last week of Advent begin decorating the house for Christmas but not before. Then celebrate Christmas “full out” until the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Show the world the true practice of the Christian faith.