Editor’s note: Dear reader, may you have a blessed Advent!
What does the season of Advent mean to you?
What spiritual exercises and meditations do you practice during Advent?
Whether you’re observing Advent for the first time, or you’ve observed Advent your entire life, we want to hear from you.
Advent (from the Latin adventus meaning “coming”) is a liturgical season observed in many Western Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. Advent marks the beginning of the Western liturgical year and begins on Advent Sunday, the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, Dec. 25.
For Christians, the season of Advent serves as a reminder both of the original waiting by Israelites for the birth of the Messiah, and the waiting by Christians for the return of Christ. The most famous hymn of Advent is “O Come Emmanuel.”
Its lyrics, based on the Prophet Isaiah, articulate the hopeful anticipation of the Advent season:
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
Originally observed as a time of fasting and penitence, the emphasis of the season of Advent is one of expectation and anticipation for the coming Messiah. In 2012, the Advent season begins on Dec. 2, 2012 and ends on Dec. 24, 2012.