Advent is an American version of the Jews' Yom Kippur, where God's favorite children reflect on the previous years' gifts. It's like the foreplay before the real celebration of Christmas, without having to admit to doing anything wrong and apologizing for it.
From the Los Angeles Times, Copyright 2006 Los Angeles Times
The Christian season of reflection, focuses on the Old Testament prophecies about the coming of a Messiah. By K. Connie Kang, December 1, 2007
special pleasures can be found in Advent, the Christian season of reflection leading up to Dec. 25
more and more Protestant congregations are taking up the celebration of Advent
"When I was growing up, Advent was for the Catholics
"There is an underlying sense of joy in the expectation,"
"Adventophile -- a lover of Advent", Reverend Mark D. Roberts
Advent, meaning "arrival" or "coming" from the Latin adventus, centers on the Old Testament prophecies about the coming of a Messiah.
"Advent," he said, "is getting in touch with our own sense of yearning for God."
four-week holy season, In the Western branch of Christianity
Christian theologians say Advent carries two themes:
- It celebrates the gift of Christ's coming as a baby in Bethlehem
- and reminds the world of God's plans -- that humankind will be held accountable at the Second Coming, when Christ returns to establish his eternal kingdom.
"There is a beautiful sense of longing -- the longing for Christ to transform those who are expectantly waiting," said Sister Patricia Beirne, director of the Spirituality Center on the Doheny Campus of Mount St. Mary's College. (The center is located on the campus but not affiliated with it.)
A prerequisite for seeking a changed heart is to "quiet down."
- run off to a monastery or retreat center
- one can carve out a sacred space at home, in the garden or even while taking walks
- One could start with a few minutes a day and continue to increase the quite time, she said.
People long for meaning
people try to find meaning in material ways
tradition of lighting the first of five candles in an Advent wreath.
Three purple candles symbolize penitence and solemnity,
a pink one represents hope,
and the white "Christ Candle," lighted on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, stands for a joyful celebration of Jesus' birth.
conflicting impulses are at workEdit
Christmas should be a time of wanting to give, share bounty and surprise others with gifts, he said. But it has been so trivialized, so secularized, that all the meaning has been removed, he added.
shopping verses reflection?
Eastern branch of ChristianityEdit
comprising about 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide, Advent began Nov. 15. Sometimes called "Little Lent" or "Smaller Lent," Advent is a time of spiritual discipline, such as fasting. Like Lent, it is observed for 40 days.
make us more mindful of the blessings that we have by not overdoing it
a form of asceticism -- spiritual self-discipline