Having Your Best Advent Ever

12-01-2019Pastor's LetterFather Gregory Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The weeks leading up to Christmas are filled with holiday songs, seasonal sales, decorations, lights, and sometimes Advent wreaths and candles. Why? What is it that we’re celebrating? What is Advent? The following are some thoughts from Dynamic Catholic. Sign up for The Best Advent Ever at dynamiccatholic.com.

The word “advent” is derived from the Latin word “adventus,” which means “coming.” For Catholics, Advent is the four-week season leading up to Christmas. During Advent we anticipate the coming of Jesus. It should be a time full of reflection, excitement, and hope.

In her genius, the Church invites us during Advent to take a step back and look at who we are, what we are doing, and where Jesus fits into our lives. Jesus came into this world at that first Christmas for you, to bring meaning and deep satisfaction into your life, to fill you with lasting joy, and ultimately to bring you to eternal happiness with Him in heaven. That’s what we celebrate at Christmas. Are you ready? Our Advent traditions can help make us ready.

Common Advent traditions (do an internet search on any of these) include an Advent calendar, special Advent prayers, the Jesse Tree, and the Advent wreath. In many homes and churches like ours, it’s common to see a wreath lying horizontal and adorned with four candles, three purple and one rose, symbolizing Hope, Peace, Joy (the rose one), and Love, respectively. One candle is lighted every Sunday – the Light is coming into the world. (The rose candle is lighted for the 3rd Sunday – Gaudete Sunday.) Traditionally, the Advent wreath is a circle of evergreen branches. Both the evergreen branches and the circular shape symbolize the passing of time and eternal life. The shape of the wreath, with no beginning or end, reflects the complete and endless love that Jesus has for us. During the Advent season, we eagerly anticipate His coming and the promise of eternal life in heaven with Him.

Think about it this way. We prepare for everything that we consider important in life. You wouldn’t show up to play in a football game and expect to win if you had not been training. You wouldn’t show up unprepared to give a big presentation at work and expect to get the project. We don’t expect to excel in exams if we have not studied. Consider the preparation that goes into hosting a barbecue, a dinner party, or a wedding. Not the typical Christmas preparations like buying and wrapping presents, baking cookies, planning parties, putting up the lights, the tree, and other decorations. I mean preparing you. When was the last time you truly prepared your heart for Jesus’ coming at Christmas?

Finally, since the Holy Day of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary falls on a Sunday this year, the feast is transferred to Monday, December 9, and the obligation to attend Mass is lifted this year. Mass for the Immaculate Conception will be on Dec. 9 at 5:30pm in Old St. Mary’s.

Have a blessed Advent!

Father Wilson