By Fr. Ralph Caley OSB
So much has been written over the centuries with regard to this coming Season of Advent. In today’s Christian churches it is considered a time of waiting and self-preparation. Advent in the Christian church is the period immediately before Christmas. It is the beginning of the Western Christian year, and begins on the fourth Sunday before Dec. 25, and ends on Christmas Eve. The word advent comes from the Latin, adventus, a translation from the Greek Parousia, translated into the English words coming or presence, referring most often to the Second Coming of Christ. Today, the season of Advent serves as a reminder of both Old Testament Judeans waiting for the coming Messiah, and Christians waiting for the returning Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Traditionally, it is a season with a prayer emphasis: prayers of commitment, prayers of rededication, prayers of supplication, and intercessory prayers for salvations and deliverance.
The themes and traditions of the Advent season have evolved throughout the history of the liturgical season. As mentioned, the early Advent season was mainly penitential, close to the theme of the Lenten season. Today a penitential theme still exists, but it is not as intense as in 7th century. Also, it is blended with the theme of prayerful, spiritual preparation for the second and final coming of the Lord, as well as the joyful preparation for the annual festive remembrance of the Incarnation and Christ’s birth.
The Advent wreath is likely the most popular tradition, and wreaths are typically present in both the parish church and in the home. It is a more recent tradition, with the modern Advent wreath emerging in Germany and spreading throughout Europe and beyond in the 1930’s. It is often circular, representing God’s eternity, and it includes 4 candles — one for each Sunday of Advent. Many families have a wreath in the home, and will light the candles each Sunday and say Advent prayers together.
St. Benedict Anglican Church, now meeting at Peace Lutheran Church, 800 S. Donaghey at 5 p.m. on Saturday evenings, invites you to join us for traditional Anglican Orthodox worship and praise. We pray the blessings of our Lord Jesus Christ be upon you and your families for the coming Liturgical Year. We would also be interested in hearing from anyone who plays a keyboard who might be interested in joining us for worship.
Fr. Ralph Caley OSB, Vicar, can be reached at 501-206-5049 or firstname.lastname@example.org