Advent (ad-venio in Latin or "to come
Beginning the Church's
liturgical year, Advent is the season leading up to the celebration
of Christmas. The Advent season is a time of preparation that
directs our hearts and minds to Christ’s second coming at the end of
time and also to the anniversary of the Lord’s birth on Christmas.
Advent devotions remind us of the meaning of the season.
information on the History of the season of Advent, follow this
The Advent Wreath
The four candles represent
the four weeks of Advent. Three candles are purple and one is rose.
The purple candles in particular symbolize the prayer, penance, and
preparatory sacrifices and goods works undertaken at this time. The
rose candle is lit on the third Sunday, Gaudete Sunday, when the
priest also wears rose vestments at Mass; Gaudete Sunday is the
Sunday of rejoicing, because the faithful have arrived at the
midpoint of Advent, when their preparation is now half over and they
are close to Christmas. The progressive lighting of the candles
symbolizes the expectation and hope surrounding our Lord’s first
coming into the world and the anticipation of his second coming to
judge the living and the dead.
Advent prayers call to mind
our preparation for the Lord's coming on Christmas and His second
coming at the end of the world. The Advent theme of preparing one
spiritually requires special Advent prayers focused on waiting,
watching, and hoping for the Lord's coming. Many Advent prayer books
include daily prayers, while others involve the writings of popular
Catholics including Pope John Paul II or Fulton Sheen. Other prayers
are meant specifically to be said along with an Advent wreath.
The Advent Calendar is
believed to have been created in the early 19th century to mark the
days of Advent leading up to Christmas. Advent calendars of today
usually count down the 24 days of December ending on Christmas Eve.
Popular amongst children Advent calendars are a joyful activity that
helps children learn about preparing for Jesus' birth. Some Advent
calendars have doors to open that reveal some symbol of Advent or
Christmas, while others have symbols that are individually placed on
the calendar for each day.
An online Advent Calendar from the USCCB:
An online Advent Calendar is available
from Loyola Press:
Advent Calendar: CALENDAR
Online Resources for Advent
University Collaborative Ministry:
United State Conference of Catholic Bishops: