Although it seems incredible, we are already in the month of December beginning this new liturgical year. That is to say, the whole church begins today a new calendar. This calendar is different from the civil calendar and marks the celebrations of the mysteries of the life of Jesus. This new liturgical year begins with the season of Advent which is the time of preparation for the birth of Jesus.
The word ‘advent’ comes from the Latin language and means ‘coming.’ In this time, then, we celebrate the coming of Jesus. In reality, we celebrate four types of coming. The first is the historical coming that occurred 2018 years ago when Jesus was born in Bethlehem. The second is the coming of Jesus through the sacraments. That is, every time we celebrate the Eucharist, or confession, or baptism, or any of the sacraments, God comes to us. The third coming is the coming for us on December 25th. Jesus is known as the “Emmanuel” which means “God with us” and every December 25th we celebrate that reality from God to us. God is present for us in this celebration of Christmas. That is, God wants to walk with us today, in our context, in our reality. The fourth coming that we celebrate is what is known as the parousia. With this word we refer to the second coming of Christ. That is to say, to that definitive coming in
which he will come for the final judgment.
Although each ‘coming’ has a slightly different meaning, each of the four has a common denominator, and that is that Jesus comes to us. That is why he is still the “Emmanuel.” That is a reason for joy because God never abandons us. This advent season is a time of hope. It is a time for us to reflect on that important event that is the birth of Jesus and what that means for each one of us. In the church we will have a setting that will help us go through this time. That is to say, the same liturgy will tell us how to live this time. We are going to see how the priest will use the purple color in his vestments, we will stop singing the “Gloria,” and we will have the Advent wreath, which is a very significant symbol for Advent.
This Advent Wreath has four candles, each Sunday of Advent one of the candles will be lit as a symbol that the birth of Chris,t our Light, is nearing.
I invite you to ask God to help us to take advantage of this time, and to make the effort and prepare ourselves to live this holy time of Advent with faith, hope and joy.
Fr. Manuel Rosiles, MSpS