It's that time of year again. Sunday, November 29, is the first day of Advent. So, its time to find those purple and rose candles and begin to celebrate the season before the season. Along with all the busy-ness of this time of year, let's take a little time out of our days to give God the glory! Did you know that Advent is like Lent?
What does Advent have in common with Lent?
The color purple.
Advent is considered a penitential season when we prepare for the coming of our Lord. This is why the priests will wear purple vestments on three of the four Sundays and why three of the four candles on the wreath are purple. I'm a guy. I've never recognized the color, violet. Nor the color, rose. To me, there's purple and there's pink. I remember, years ago, I would go to Church during Advent and say, "oh, they've got the purple and pink candles out." And my wife or some other woman would correct me and say, "violet and rose!" But now, its cool to say purple. But apparently, it's still wrong to say, pink.
Advent is a penitential season.
Therefore, we do our best to do good deeds during Lent, errrr, Advent. So, my wife buys straw and makes a manger. We try to fill the manger with straw before Christmas in order to provide a nice soft bed for the Baby Jesus. When the kids were young, this helped prevent any of them getting chunks of coal in their stockings on Christmas morning.
Along with Advent wreaths, I'd like to plug a good cause, Wreathes across America.
Advent wreaths are wreaths, which we make ourselves from pine branches intertwined. We get those from our Christmas tree which we trim. Then, we lay it down in a central place and each Sunday, light the appropriate Advent Candle and sing songs and say prayers. This is also when we fill the manger with straw.
Folks, our devotions were really hit and miss. We did our best to keep up with them, but with young children, homeschooling, extended family and other demands, we frequently found ourselves doing these things the following Monday, even on occasion, the following Saturday. And of course, forgetting altogether. So, don't feel bad if you can't do them.
The main thing is to prepare your heart for the coming of Christ.
One more thing.
During Advent, we looked outward towards those in need. We found charities and other good causes which helped us to forget our selfish wants and identify those that need the things we take for granted.
The Catholic Church provides many avenues for you to exercise your love and charity for your fellow man. Food and clothing drives are frequently organized. As well as prayer vigils and other things.
And finally, Advent is a joyful season. Love is coming into our hearts and is already here. Rejoice! Joy to the world, the Lord is come, let earth receive her Kiiiing!....