Advent: Not a Passive Waiting Time!

Advent: Not a Passive Waiting Time!

By Sister Susan Hutchens, OSB

“Advent” derives from the Latin word “advenio” meaning “to come” or ‘the coming.”

It is a term which designates for us the 4 weeks prior to the Feast of Christmas.

Christmas means many things to people today, from lighting trees to family time shared, giving presents to friends, and the excitement for children of the annual arrival of Santa Claus.

But its origin and true meaning is the birth of Jesus to Mary and Joseph in a lowly stable more than 2000 years ago. We call this the Incarnation God becoming human. That is our belief as Christians.

So, if we know the date of Christmas is December 25, then why not just celebrate that day? Why have this liturgical time of Advent? What does it add to our Christian beliefs?

For us it is a time of preparation – of waiting for God’s Love to become one of us. 

The readings throughout Advent reveal the promises made to the Israelites long ago that God would come to dwell with them and that they should be ready for that coming.

We read that Mary and Joseph were chosen to be Jesus’ parents, that God was delivering joy to our broken world, and that to prepare for Christ’s coming we need to open our hearts to God’s presence around us. 

It is not a passive waiting time! (Here are some suggestions of how - and why - to prepare spiritually.)

We prepare by shopping and baking, decorating and turning the night into beautiful displays of lights. All done in honor of a baby born to be our Savior. 

Advent is primarily a time for Hope, for acknowledging that our world needs to be saved, and that we believe God has done that through the Incarnation of Christ.

What we must do in our lives is live as if we truly believe it – we are saved! We aren’t here to earn salvation – it is already a gift! Truly an awesome concept.

All we must do is open out hearts to receive it every day. 

Advent helps us to do that during these 4 weeks. Then it is up to us to continue it every other day of the coming year. 

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