The Meaning of Advent

The Meaning of Advent

As we approach the Christmas season, I can’t help but get excited to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Before I get too ahead of myself I remember that the season of Advent comes first.

Growing up, attending Catholic school I always learned about Advent and went to the all the Advent liturgies that we celebrated but didn’t find the season itself very important. I thought the most important part was lighting the candle in the wreath and getting excited with more candles lit because that meant Christmas was soon. I always assumed that Advent was somehow less important than the Lenten season. I knew that Lent was a time for serious fasting. It is a journey of preparation for our hearts knowing Jesus died for us and rose again. Lent always felt like a true challenge and a time of penance for me and I never saw Advent the same way.

Advent comes from the Latin word for “coming.” We know that Jesus is coming as we celebrate His birth at Christmas. We also know that He will come again in His Second Coming! Advent is a time to prepare our hearts for not only the celebration of Jesus’ coming in Bethlehem but also a reminder of His coming into our hearts daily, as well as to prepare for His Second Coming. Finding out what Advent meant really changed my perspective on my approach to it this year.

The most common thing people know about Advent is the Advent wreath. It is a wreath with 4 candles, representing the 4 weeks of Advent. One candle is lit each Sunday leading up to Christmas signifying the light that was brought into the world through the baby Jesus. The wreath is a circle to signify the eternity of God and His love for us. There are three purple candles which represent prayer, penance, and sacrifice as well as one rose candle. The rose candle represents rejoicing and is lit on the third Sunday of Advent.

As a NET team, we started discussing what we wanted to do to prepare our hearts for Christmas during Advent. We came up with the idea of learning more about our team’s patron saints, St Louis and Zelie Martin (each team is assigned two patron saints). We ask for their intercession every day and we are excited to learn more about them. The men on our team have an individual patron saint and each woman has a Marian title (for example, Our Lady of Fatima, Mary Undoer of Knots, Stella Maris, etc.). We have decided that we are going to research on our designated saint/Marian title so we can better understand who is interceding for us! The last thing our team came up with is to fast and pray for the youth we are ministering too.

What are some things you can do to prepare your heart in this Advent season? Here are a few ideas…. pray as a family, pray the rosary more often, go to adoration, go to confession, spend time with your family, set up a nativity scene at your house or pick a saint and learn more about them.

May Christ reign in your heart and prepare you for His coming this season!

Rebecca Harbor, Team 3