The Basics of Advent Every Catholic Must Know

What is Advent Season and when does it begin? Literally, the word “advent” means: “coming / arrival” as derived from its Latin origin: “adventus.” The season of Advent marks the beginning of the Liturgical Year of our Catholic Liturgy. It begins on the Evening Prayer I of Sunday closest to the 30th of November and ends on the Evening Prayer I of Christmas – December 24.

How should we understand this Season of Advent in the life of our Christian Catholic Faith? The Church teaches us two equally important ways of celebrating this season of advent: (1) to look back with gratitude and joy at the first coming of Jesus Christ and (2) to look forward with faith and hope at the second coming of the same Christ our Lord.

What does the violet color mean for this Season of Advent? Violet color does not mean an exclusively penitential character like how it is understood during the season of Lent. Canon 1250 provides that “the penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.” Violet during Advent Season is rather more as an expression of a devout and joyful expectation, as generated by the mood of the texts and readings of this season.

What about the advent wreath? The elements found in the advent wreath give us a rich meaning of the basic truths of our Christian faith. The wreath symbolizes God’s eternity: our God who has no beginning and ending. The fresh green leaves would symbolize our undying hope for our new life in Christ, while the Pine Cones attached to the green leaves stand for Christ’s Resurrection. How about the four candles? The first candle is called “Prophet’s Candle” reminding us that Jesus is coming. The second candle is called “Bethlehem Candle” reminding us of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. The third candle is called “Shepherds’ Candle” reminding us of the Joy the world experienced at the coming birth of Jesus. The fourth candle is called “Angel’s Candle” reminding us of the message of the angels: “Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men.”

Generally, this season of Advent is a time for all of us to prepare ourselves to become fitting to partake in the joy of remembering the birth of our Lord with our joyful anticipation of His coming again as our Redeemer and King. Though it is not a season stressed with penitential character, the sacrament of reconciliation (confession) is still one best way of personally observing the discipline of the Advent season. May Jesus Christ find a worthy and welcoming home in our lives as we all joyfully await for His coming. Faithfully, lovingly and hopefully we say, Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!

Written by:
Rev. Marc Bryan R. Adona, SSS
Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament – Cagayan de Oro Community