First Sunday of Advent


Jesus said to his disciples:
“Be watchful! Be alert!

Today, Sunday, starts the beginning of Advent. It is a season that is marked by the color purple and that color is the color of royalty fitting Christ the King. It is also the sign of penance, fitting for the season of Advent. Advent is a season that has become lost, it has disappeared largely through the merging of it with the Christmas season to create that shopping season that began the day after Thanksgiving. Advent runs for four weeks, and is commonly counted off using an Advent wreath or an Advent Calendar. The season ends Christmas Eve, when the Christmas season begins. The Christmas season ends mid-January with the Feast of the baptism of the Lord. There are vast differences between Secular Holiday Season, sometimes improperly called Christmas Season, and the Christian liturgical seasons of Advent and Christmas. Advent and Christmas are two separate seasons, Advent begins today. This season begins with its own set of songs, a prominent one is O’ Come Emmanuel.

Emmanuel means God is with us, and the Advent is the season of watching, waiting, and preparing for the Lord to enter into this world and into our lives. It is a season of profound stillness so different from that commercial season that is going on at the same time. It is a season of anticipation, and of reflection. Advent has a quiet, and somber feel about it; the festive season begins after the Nativity of our Lord. One has to be watchful of this Advent season, as modern society has done much to overshadow it. Being watchful of Advent during the busiest season of the year, can however serve as an example of the diligence needed to actively seek out the Lord in the busy days of everyday life. This misaligned season can serve as practice for daily living, it is after all every day that one should actively seek God in our lives, and lives are busy. It does take effort to actively participate in this season of Advent, and that special effort does carry through into the remainder of the year. Advent, liturgical Advent, is also the beginning of the Church year. Like the beginning of that calendar year, perhaps it also is a good time to make New Year resolutions. One good resolution to make is exactly what Jesus told his disciples; “Be watchful! Be alert!” A second resolution, to help with the first, is to actively participate in this Advent season, and come to understand the meanings that are contained in both seasons; Advent and Christmas.

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