The first liturgical season of the year is called Advent, a name that signifies waiting, expecting, and preparing. Each year during Advent, faithful Catholics anticipate the coming of Jesus and prepare for the celebration of his birth at Christmas.

The Mass readings during Advent include writings from the prophets who foretold the birth of the long-awaited Messiah and the Gospel stories of Jesus’ life on Earth. These lessons from his first arrival remind us that Jesus will also come again at the end of time and they help us to be ready now.

While there are four Sundays of Advent, there are not necessarily four full weeks of the season.

The liturgical color violet and the modest church decorations in Advent remind us that our joy cannot be fully expressed until Jesus arrives. Even the music is slightly subdued and the Gloria is not sung. 

Rose vestments are used on the Third Sunday of Advent, which is called Gaudete Sunday because of the more joyful expectation of that particular Sunday.

Advent in 2 minutes:

Jesus is worth waiting for:

We’re not waiting for a baby in a manger:

The liturgy of Advent, filled with constant allusions to the joyful expectation of the Messiah, helps us to understand the fullness of the value and meaning of the mystery of Christmas. It is not just about commemorating the historical event, which occurred some 2,000 years ago in a little village of Judea. Instead, we must understand that our whole life should be an “advent”, in vigilant expectation of Christ’s final coming. To prepare our hearts to welcome the Lord who, as we say in the Creed, will come one day to judge the living and the dead, we must learn to recognize his presence in the events of daily life. Advent is then a period of intense training that directs us decisively to the One who has already come, who will come and who continuously comes.

– Pope John Paul II, General Audience, December 18, 2002

We wait for the only one who can save us:

A season of devout and joyful preparation:

In those days John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea [and] saying, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said: “A voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.’”

Matthew 3: 1-3

A time to focus on the coming, arrival, and presence of Jesus:

How to celebrate Advent and prepare the manger of your soul:

When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior’s first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 524

This holy season teaches us the Good News of Jesus now:

The Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

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