“Advent...returns us to the horizon of hope, a hope that does not disappoint because it is founded on the Word of God." - Pope Francis
Advent, the four-week period leading up to Christmas, is a season filled with anticipation. The word Advent comes from "ad-venire" in Latin, meaning "to come to." The season is a time of preparation for the celebration of Our Lord's birth. It is a time to celebrate the way in which the Lord comes into our lives every day. And, it is a time to look forward in hope to the second coming of Jesus in his glory. Advent begins with First Vespers (Evening Prayer 1) on the Sunday closest to November 30, this year on December 2.
The color for the Advent season is purple, signifying that, just as with Lent, it is a time of heightened prayer, penance and preparation so that we may be truly ready for the Lord's coming. However, on the Third Sunday of Advent, known as Gaudete Sunday, the color of priests' vestments changes to rose. Gaudete is taken from the first word of the Latin Entrance Antiphon for this day, meaning "rejoice." It is the Church's way of noting that the time for the celebration of the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord is drawing near.
Advent is often celebrated with the lighting of an Advent wreath, comprised of one rose and three purple candles. Candles are lit progressively each week, with the rose candle being lit on the Third Sunday of Advent.
We long for your coming, Lord Jesus. Our hearts are empty until you fill them with your presence. As we prepare to celebrate the feast of your historical coming, fill us with your Spirit so that we may be prepared for your Second Coming, when we will enjoy your presence forever. Amen
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