Advent And Christmas

Be on the look out! You don't know when it's the right time for the Messiah to come.

Based on Mark 13:33

The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is special. The lights are up, trees are decorated, and everyone is busy getting ready. Anticipation is in the air.

Like everyone else, the Church gets ready for the coming of Jesus. But the Church celebrates the season differently. The Church waits for the coming of Jesus at the end of the world. And it waits for his coming at Christmas.

This time of waiting is called Advent. On the four Sundays before Christmas the Church prepares us for the coming of Jesus. In many churches, an Advent Wreath sits in the front of the church. The wreath has four candles. On each Sunday a different candle is light. On the first, second, and fourth Sundays the candles are colored purple, a color of anticipation. On the third Sunday, the candle is rose-colored, a color half way between the purple of Advent (the color of waiting) and the white of Christmas (the color of joy).

Times of the Church Year

When the Son of Man comes, things will happen just like in the time of Noah. Before the Great Flood, people got married and partied right up to the time Noah entered the Ark. They didn't know what would happen until it was too late. The flood came and they drown. The same thing will happen when the Son of Man comes.

Based on Matthew 24:37-39

Do you remember the story of Noah? God called on Noah to build a large Ark and fill it with animals. Many people laughed at Noah and lived their lives as if nothing would happen. Imagine if people treated the time before Christmas the same way! There would be no excitement, no joy, no anticipation! No one would care about the coming of Jesus!

But the readings, the songs, and the color of Advent focus our attention on Jesus' arrival. The first two Sundays concentrate on his coming in glory. The last two focus on his birth. Along the way, we meet the people who helped prepare others for the Jesus: John the Baptist, Mary, and Joseph.

Because this time prepares us for Christmas, Advent marks the beginning of the Church year, called the liturgical year. Unlike the calendar year or the school year, the liturgical year celebrates the events in the life of Jesus and the early Church. The season of Advent and Christmas celebrates the coming of Jesus. The season of Lent and Easter (during springtime) celebrates his death and resurrection. The time between these two seasons is call "Ordinary Time."

The colors in our churches change with the church seasons. Like Advent, the color of Lent is purple. Lent reminds us of Jesus death and our need to always turn to God. Like Christmas, the color of Easter is white. Easter reminds us Jesus is risen from the dead and is truly alive! But, during Ordinary Time, the color is green to remind us that the Church is always growing, like a healthy plant. On two special Sundays in the year, the color is red to remind us that Jesus shed is blood for us (Passion Sunday, one week before Easter) and that we might suffer for our faith (Pentecost, 50 days after Easter).

For now, the color in our church is purple. Why? Because we wait for the coming of Jesus!

Always ask God to give you the strength to live through those bad times and, in the end, to stand as a true follower before the Son of Man.

Based on Luke 21:36