Does Advent have a future? At first glance, that may seem like a strange question. Advent, the period of preparation for the coming of Christ at Christmas, has been celebrated in one form or another for at least 1,500 years, and while the Catholic Church no longer prescribes fasting during this penitential season, She also clearly has no intention of giving the season up. What I have in mind in asking this question, however, is something a bit different.
For all of the talk of a “War on Christmas” over the last several years, the public celebration of Christmas seems to be doing just fine. The same cannot be said for Advent–and that may ultimately have dire consequences for Christmas itself.
Our novena this week is unique. Unlike other novenas, the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena is not prayed for just nine days but every day between the Feast of Saint Andrew (November 30) and Christmas. And it is prayed 15 times per day.
Did you know that we celebrated a New Year on Sunday? The First Sunday of Advent marks the start of the liturgical year of the Catholic Church. Why not live this “little Lent” to the fullest by making a liturgical New Year’s resolution?
- Reading for the First Tuesday of Advent
In Isaiah 2:6-22 and 4:2-6, the prophet continues the theme of the judgment of Israel. Because of the sins of the people, God will humble Israel, and only the “bud of the Lord”–Christ–will shine in glory.
- Reading for the First Wednesday of Advent
In Isaiah 5:1-7, the prophet discusses the vineyard that the Lord has built–the house of Israel. The passage calls to mind Christ’s parable of the vineyard, in which the vineyard owner sends his only son to oversee the vineyard, and the workers in the vineyard kill him, foreshadowing Christ’s own death.
- Reading for the First Thursday of Advent
Isaiah prophesies the purification of Old Testament Israel in Isaiah 16:1-5 and 17:4-8. The Chosen People have squandered their inheritance, and now God is opening the door of salvation to all nations. Israel survives, as the New Testament Church; and over her sits a just judge, Jesus Christ.
- Bob Hunt: Advent helps re-prioritize holiday hubbub (knoxnews.com)
- John Shore: The Sacredness of Time: Understanding the Christian Calendar (huffingtonpost.com)
- Rediscovering the Christmas Season (trommetter.com)