It’s a common refrain this time of year: “Merry Christmas!” But what many of us don’t realize is that the season of Christmas hasn’t yet begun. In actuality, we are in the season of Advent, which means “coming” and begins four Sundays before Christmas.
What is Advent, and how do we celebrate it?
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This Sunday marks the beginning of Advent. It’s the season historically set aside by the Church to help believers prepare to receive the fullness of Jesus’ coming. By “Jesus’ coming,” Advent refers both to Jesus’ Incarnation and “His return as the ‘Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory,” who will “send his angels to gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.”
Advent is a time to recall God’s utter and unstoppable faithfulness to His people. Though Israel failed to keep its covenant with God, made at Sinai and renewed on several occasions afterward, He always intended to keep His covenant with Abraham, that “through your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed."