Advent begins the new Liturgical Year. In Latin "Adventus" means “coming.” We recall the cry of the early Christians: Maranatha! – “Come, Lord Jesus.” It is a time of vigilant waiting that prepares us to welcome the mystery of the Word Incarnate, who enters the world through the immaculate womb of Blessed Virgin Mary.
Advent has a two-fold purpose: as a season to prepare for Christ’s second coming to us at the end of time, and as a season to prepare for Christmas. This year, the first period includes the time of Advent from the first Sunday after Thanksgiving until December 16th. The readings of the Masses at this time prepare us for the second coming of Christ, Judge of the living and the dead. The second part of Advent, from December 17th of this year to December 24th, is the time of our immediate spiritual preparation to celebrate the Nativity of our Lord.
The Advent Season always goes by very fast; therefore, from the very beginning, let us take the opportunity to prepare ourselves spiritually for Christmas. St. John Henry Newman, in his homily for the Advent Season, said:
“Advent is a time of waiting, it is a time of joy because the coming of Christ is not only a gift of grace and salvation, but it is also a time of commitment because it motivates us to live the present as a time of responsibility and vigilance. This ‘vigilance’ means the necessity, the urgency of an industrious, living ‘wait’. To make all this happen, then we need to wake up, as we are warned by the apostle to the Gentiles: ‘Besides this you know what hour it is, how it is full time now for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.’” (Rm 13:11)
We have to remember that there is no good preparation for the Nativity of the Lord without the sacramental confession. So, let us make plans to receive this sacrament, allowing Jesus to be reborn in our lives, let us try to attend weekday Masses, participate in “posadas,” and spend time in silent Eucharistic Adoration. May the Lord bless us during this holy season and the Blessed Virgin Mary lead us to Her Son Jesus.