In the West, Advent marks the beginning of the Church’s liturgical year. The word Advent is derived from the Latin “ad-venire,” which means “coming” or “to come to.” It is a season that begins with the fourth Sunday before Christmas (including following weekdays) and concludes at the end of the day before Christmas. It is a time to prepare and expectation for the celebration of the anniversary of Christ’s nativity, as well as His second coming at the end of time. Advent devotions typically include an Advent wreath, and daily prayers/meditations to prepare oneself spiritually for the birth of Christ. Liturgical colors for vestments and candles vary from Purple/Violet (or Royal Blue), Rose and White.
In the Eastern Orthodox Church, a corresponding season of preparation always begins on November 15, and ends December 25 – 40 days. It also has a penitential nature, including fasting requirements. However, due to liturgical calendar differences (in most cases), Orthodox Christmas will be observed on January 7, 2019. For the Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran and other churches of the West, Advent begins this year on Sunday, December 2, and ends on Monday, December 24.
As we start the advent season across different faith denominations, there are several books and publications that are available to help prepare your hearts and minds to make the most of this special season leading up to the coming of Christ which is celebrated during the Christmas Season…