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Advent … …. …. The Season of Advent
Human beings cannot live without hope. Unlike the animals, we are blessed or cursed, with the ability to think about the future and to reckon our actions to shaping it. So essential is this to human life that human beings cannot live without hope, without something to live for, without something to look forward to.
To be without hope, to have nothing to live for, is to surrender to death in despair. But we can find all sorts of things to live for and we can hope for almost anything: for some measure of success, or security or for the realization of some more or less modest ambition; for our children, that they might be saved from our mistakes and sufferings and find a better life than we have known; for a better world, throwing ourselves into politics or medicine or technology so that future generations might be better off. Not all these forms of Hope are selfish’ indeed they have given dignity and purpose to the lives of countless generations.
During the Advent Season, the Church invites us to read the Old Testament stories of promises and prophesies God made to his beloved people of Israel.
But one of the reasons why we read the Old Testament during the Advent Season is to learn what to hope for. The people of the Old Testament had the courage to hope for big things:
1. That the desert would be turned into fertile land….It would bloom, bring forth fruit and live!
2. Their scattered divided people would eventually be gathered again
3. That the blind would see, the lame walk;
4. Lasting Peace, tranquil lives, sufficiency of food
That not only their own people, but all the peoples of the earth would be united with the Blessings of everlasting Peace.
· Clearly, their hopes were no different from ours, or from any human being:
· Lasting Peace, tranquil lives,
· Sufficiency of food, an end to suffering, pain and misery.
Thus we hope for the same things as the Old Testament People for their hopes are not yet realized, But we defer from them in two ways:
First the Coming of Jesus in History, as a partial fulfillment of God’s promises, immeasurably confirms and strengthens our Hope.
Secondly, we differ from the Old Testament people because Jesus has revealed to us that God is not far off, but is already in our midst.
Hence the importance of the Advent Liturgy of John the Baptist and Mary: because they recognized the new situation, they serve as models for the Church in discerning the presence of Our savior in the world.
Taken from “the Spirit of advent” Mark Searle, in Assembly, Volume 7:1 @ Notre Dame Center for Liturgy, Notre Dame, IN
has a two fold character: as
· a season to prepare for Christmas when Christ’s first coming to us is remembered, and
· a season when that remembrance directs our mind and heart to await Christ’s second coming at the end of time.
· Advent is a period of devout and joyful expectation.
· Advent is a time to recall the cry of the early Christians: Maranatha! “Come, Lord Jesus come”!
A penitential Service is one way of assisting the people of God in preparing for the solemnity of the Nativity. Such a liturgy is often celebrated during the latter part of the Advent season, and on a weekday, rather than a Sunday.
Is a popular symbol in many churches. It is usually placed in the narthex or the gathering area of the church, or near the ambo.
In Some Churches on Each Sunday, The candles and the wreath are borne in procession, following the thurible and Cross or just ahead of the Gospel.
The Advent wreath is blessed on the First Sunday of the season of Advent. The candles are lit on each Sunday incrementally during this season in an order of sequence, as we advance from one Sunday to another towards the celebration of Christmas. On the third Sunday, celebrating the "Gaudete Sunday", a special colored (ROSE) candle is lit.
The lit candles of this wreath remind us that Jesus Christ came to conquer the darkness of sin and to lead us into the light of his glorious kingdom.
In Some Churches on Each Sunday, the candles and the wreath are borne in procession, following the thurible and Cross or just ahead of the Gospel.