Advent is the first liturgical season of the year, when faithful Catholics anticipate the coming of Jesus and prepare for the celebration of his birth on Christmas day.

The word advent means “arrival” and this name of the season indicates waiting, expecting, and preparing.

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.

The liturgical color of 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. 

Advent calendars and Advent wreaths with a candle for each Sunday count down the time until Christmas.

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

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

A new liturgical year:

Advent in 2 minutes:

“Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

Matthew 24: 42-44

We wait for the only one who can save us:

Preparing to see God:

The exhortation to be watchful resounds many times in the liturgy, especially in Advent, a season of preparation not only for Christmas, but also for Christ’s definitive and glorious coming at the end of time. It therefore has a distinctly eschatological meaning and invites the believer to spend every day and every moment in the presence of the One “Who is and Who was and Who is come”, to Whom the future of the world and of man belongs. This is Christian hope! Without this prospect, our existence would be reduced to living for death. Christ is our Redeemer: Redemptor mundi et Redemptor hominis, Redeemer of the world and of man. He came among us to help us cross the threshold that leads to the door of life, the “holy door” which is He himself.

Pope John Paul II, Homily, 29 November 1998

Jesus is worth waiting for:

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

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

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

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

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

The Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

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