Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
A. Advent is a season of expectation, preparation and penance.
B. Advent has a dual character. As a season of penance it prepares us spiritually for the celebration of the Christmas season, in which we Catholics celebrate and reflect upon the mystery of the Incarnation of the word of God. Typically known as the first coming.
C. Advent also has an eschatological character filled with a sense of expectation. Advent is a time to put the house of the soul in order before the arrival of the guest of honor Christ Jesus, who will come unannounced like a thief in the night in his second coming.
D. Every time we Catholics recite the Creed we say, “He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.”
The use of wreath was very common among the Germanic peoples even before the advent of Christianity.
Wreaths were gathered and fires lighted as signs of hope in a coming spring.
Christians kept these folkloric traditions alive, and by the 16 th century Catholics and Protestants throughout Germany used this symbol to celebrate their advent hope in Christ, the everlasting light.
This symbol and tradition spread to the entire western Church.
The circular shape of the Advent wreath represent eternity and God’s unending mercy.
The four candles represent in a symbolic way the four thousand years on longing and waiting that passed between Adam and the coming of the promised Messiah.
The first candle recalls the Patriarchs of the Old Testament, The second candle recalls the Prophets that foretold the coming of the Messiah, The third candle recalls St. John the Baptist who prepared the way of the Lord; and the final candle recalls the Theotokos, our blessed Mother, the virgin Mary who said yes to the plan of God for Emmanuel, “God with us”.
“ In the last seven days of Advent (December 17-24), the antiphons before the Magnificat (in the liturgy of the hours) are very special. Each begins with the exclamation "O" and ends with a plea for the Messiah to come. As Christmas approaches the cry becomes increasingly urgent.”