Saint Francis of Assisi Church
Father in heaven,
our hearts desire the warmth of your love,
and our minds are searching for the light of your Word.
Increase our longing for Christ our Savior,
and give us the strength to grow in love,
that the dawn of his coming may find us
rejoicing in his presence
and welcoming the light of his truth.
We ask all of this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.
- Alternative Collect, I Sunday of Advent
Time (chronos) is a human concept.
We move through time, occupying
no more than one point:
Past --- Present --- Future
We measure time, we analyze it,
we follow it: in the stars, the sun,
online (http://time.nist.gov), GPS, even on the radio!
We interact with others, and
choose to contact God in our
own time, in our own way.
To do that we use the months and
even the seasons of the year,
the weeks in each month,
the hours of every day,
and even the very minutes and seconds.
Making time holy
God, however, is beyond time :
His “time” (kairos) is always NOW.
And yet through time and history
is the presence of the Holy Spirit!
(Vatican II, Dei Verbum)
And God chooses to speak to us,
in this limited, human chronological time.
But do we listen?
Making time holy
Take a few minutes…and ask
yourself and your neighbors:
• How can I make my time holy?
• How do I make my time holy?
The Liturgical Year exerts
“a special sacramental power
and influence which strengthens
(National Directory for Catechesis, 37A)
How the Calendar is Determined
Our calendar is arranged around the two
principal feasts of the Church:
Christmas (Celebrating the Incarnation)
Easter (Celebrating the Resurrection)
All seasons and dates are based on what day
of the week Christmas falls on, and the date of
Easter Sunday. This is publicly announced
each year on the Feast of the Epiphany.
Start with Christmas
(This year, Christmas is on a Friday)
then, count back to the previous Sunday. So, for
IV Sunday in Advent: December 20
III Sunday in Advent (Gaudete Sunday): December
II Sunday in Advent: December 6
I Sunday in Advent
(The beginning of the Liturgical year): November 29
Advent is LONGEST if Christmas is on a Sunday
How to tell when it’s Advent
Advent comes from the Latin adventus,
meaning "coming" or "arrival."
The focus of the entire season is the
celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ
in his First Advent, and the anticipation
of the return of Christ in his Second
In the Fourth and Fifth Centuries A.D.,
Advent was a preparation not for
Christmas…but for Epiphany.
Epiphany was set aside as an
opportunity for new Christians to be
baptized. Believers spent 40 days
examining their hearts and doing
penance – just like Lent.
Pope St. Gregory the Great (d. 604)
was the real architect of Advent.
He fixed the season at four weeks,
and composed the seasonal prayers that
we are familiar with today.
By the Sixth Century, Christians began
linking this season to the coming of
Christ. But the "coming" that was
celebrated was not the infancy of Jesus,
but His Second Coming.
In the Middle Ages, though, the Church
began using Advent to prepare to
celebrate Christ's birth.
Color for Advent is VIOLET, a “regal” color
On the Advent Wreath: Light one candle for each
week of Advent, beginning at Sunday Mass
Three Violet candles, one Rose
The rose candle is lit on the third week as a sign
of celebration (Gaudete, Latin for “rejoice!”) since
Advent is more than half over
The “wreath” is a circle, which represents God,
who is eternal. Evergreens are used for the same
“First” Readings for the season come from Isaiah:
descriptions of the End Times and the Messiah
More about Advent
CHRISTMAS: The First Feast
Celebrates the Incarnation (“being made into flesh”)
and birth of Jesus
Since the 3rd Century, occurs on December 25
This date was set because the Roman Empire
celebrated the winter solstice (“birth” of the sun),
so when the Empire became Christian, it celebrated
the birth of Jesus on this day
One day feast, with an octave (the feast day itself
+ seven more days of feasting = eight days).
The only other feast with an “octave” is Easter.
Color in church: White (and usually gold)
Traditional celebration of Christmas occurred at
“Midnight Mass,” but earlier vigils now happen
Gospel of Luke: Account of the birth of Jesus
NOTE: Santa Claus is actually associated with
St. Nicholas (sant niklaas), whose feast is December
It was “moved” to Christmas for “commercial reasons.”
CHRISTMAS: The First Feast
Starts December 25, not the day after Thanksgiving!
The time after Christmas continues to celebrate the
birth of Jesus
One or two weeks (originally “12 days”)
Celebration on New Year’s Day marks the Octave:
Mary, the Mother of God (January 1)
Traditionally goes from Christmas to the Feast of
Epiphany (usually January 6)
CHRISTMAS: The Season
aka “Three Kings Day”
Celebrates the visit of the Magi (in Matthew)
Traditionally on January 6 (the last day of the
“Twelve days of Christmas”)
One day feast
Color in Church: White/Gold
In many countries and in Europe, this day – and not
Christmas – is the “gift giving day” (Italy: la
EPIPHANY: The Next Feast
Celebrates the baptism of the adult
Jesus by John in the Jordan River,
marking the beginning of Christ’s
The Sunday after Epiphany,
and a one day feast
Color in Church: White/Gold
Officially ends the Christmas season
The First Week of Ordinary Time (I) begins on
the following day
Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
Where are the Themes?
Songs – Music
Light – Darkness
Color – Purple (blue), Pink (white)
Special Biblical Stories
All are inter-related to nurture spiritual understanding,
meaning, depth, engagement and for on-going conversion.
The season of Advent has a twofold
character. It is a time of preparation for
Christ when the first coming of God’s Son
to men is recalled. It is also a season when
minds are directed by this memorial to
Christ's second coming at the end of time.
It us thus a SEASON OF JOYFUL
(General Norms for the Liturgical Year, 39)
How are Christians to enter into the
Season of Advent?
Theological “Advents” of Christ
All sorts of “comings” in scripture
Wedding at Cana
Road to Emmaus
People are transformed as Jesus is revealed to them
and to all in a new way
These are called “little advents” of Christ!
Think about your own “little advents”
How does Christ come to you
in your life, as you know it right now?
All sacraments are visible outward
signs of the presence of Christ working
in our community.
Non-liturgical advents take place in the
kindness of strangers, the generosity of
friends, or the support of loved ones.
“Advent means that every person
and every Christian is and should be an
advent person - not just in this part of
the church year, but also in his or her
“This means being a person who
cooperatively enacts the one and final
movement of the world and history
toward God’s arrival in it in freedom,
in faith, hope, and love.” (Karl Rahner)
A call to engage one’s vocation,
one’s life in God,
in an active presence, a ‘holy waiting’.
What does “holy waiting”
look like in the liturgical life?
Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight his paths.”
Advent can transform the body of
Christ into a living, acting,
and awaiting society!
The challenge of Advent is
steering hearts and minds away
from the commercialism and
secularization of Christmas
and into “waiting in joyful hope
for the coming of our savior,
A Coming Christ in Advent:
Commentary on the Season of Advent using
Fr. Raymond Brown’s bestselling book
The Birth of the Messiah
Sunday, December 6 * 6:00 p.m., Parish Hall
Sunday, December 13 * 6:00 p.m., Parish Hall
Sunday, December 20 * 6:00 p.m., Parish Hall