Advent is a liturgical season in the Catholic Church; it is the season that starts off the liturgical year. The word Advent comes from the Latin word adventus, which means coming. Advent is the time of the year where we anticipate the birth of Jesus as well as the second coming. The beloved traditions of Advent such as the lighting the Advent wreath, decorating the Christmas tree, watching Christmas movies, and putting up Christmas decorations have always brought me such fond memories of childhood. Advent is the first season in the liturgical year; I say it is the season of new beginnings, a new start as Catholics.
The season of Advent always comes around with a beautiful spirit of generosity amongst people. A spirit originating from the three Magi giving our Lord gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. A spirit continued by Saint Nicholas of Myra, the actual Santa Claus, and continues today with all of us who share the tradition of gift giving on Christmas day. People give gifts to fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters and friends bringing everyone together.
The season of Advent seems to be the happiest time of year for families. The parents think of their children and try to find the perfect gift for each one of them. It fosters a mindset of selflessness, love, and connectedness between family members. It is a time when the whole family tries to get back together to be with each other for a little while. When we put aside our differences, difficulties and forgive each other to begin again as a happy family.
Advent is the season of the most happiness and joy because it prepares us for Christmas. The happiness and joy that comes from generosity, love, and togetherness embody the spirit of Advent. The joy that flows from Advent, builds up to the high point of Christmas, which fits wonderfully because we remember the greatest gift given to the world, our Lord Jesus Christ, is what it is all about.
The spirit of Advent is the spirit of generosity, togetherness, and joy. The new beginning of Advent each year reminds us to be Christ-like and Christ centered. Why can’t the spirit of Advent continue throughout the year? The spirit of generosity, togetherness, and joy all year round doesn’t mean giving gifts for the whole year, it means always being ready to lend a hand, to include others, and to be joyful realizing the fact that Jesus Christ is Lord.
~ Brother Nicholas Martinez, OFM Cap