Part 4 – Blessing for a Crèche

Part 3 – Two-fold character

Advent has a two-fold character, for it is a time of preparation for the Solemnities of Christmas, in which the First Coming of the Son of God to humanity is remembered, and likewise a time when, by remembrance of this, minds and hearts are led to look forward to Christ’s Second Coming at the end of time. For these two reasons, Advent is a period of devout and expectant delight. [Universal norms of the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, 39]

The official color for the season of Advent is violet. 

Advent is a time to recall the cry of the early Christians – Maranatha! “Come Lord Jesus”

The Advent Wreath, a popular symbol in many churches may be placed in the narthex or gathering area, or near the ambo. The Advent wreath consists of 4 (four candles). One is rose in color to be lighted on the 3rd Sunday of Advent, called Gaudete Sunday, meaning “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say, rejoice” Pope Francis in his homily on Gaudete Sunday 2014 said that Gaudete Sunday is known as the “Sunday of Joy.” People should focus on “all the good things life has given you”

The each of the four candles on the Advent wreath symbolizes HOPE, LOVE, JOY (rose color) and PEACE.

 

Part 2 – Blessing of an Advent Wreath

Part 1

The First Sunday of Advent, November 28, 2020 begins the Year of Grace 2021. The First Sunday of Advent also marks the start of the new Church Year with Sunday’s Reading being from Cycle B (St. Mark’s Gospel).

Human beings cannot live without hope. Unlike the animals, we are blessed with the ability to think about the future and to align our actions to shape 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.

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 suffering and find a better life that we have known; for the 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.

One reason why we read the Old Testament during Advent is to learn what to hope for. The people of the Old Testament had the courage to hope for big things; that the desert would be turned into fertile land; that their scattered and divided people would be gathered again; that the blind would see, the deaf hear, the lame walk; that not only their own people, but all the peoples of the earth, would be united in the blessings of everlasting peace. Clearly, their hopes were no different from ours or from any human being’s: 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 differ from them in two ways. First, the coming of Jesus in history and second, Jesus has revealed to us that God is not far off, but is already in our midst.

Hence the importance in Advent liturgy of St. John the Baptist and of Mary: because they recognized the new situation, they serve as models for the Church in discerning the presence of our Savior in the world. [notes taken from the 2021 ORDO]