By Cara DalCanton
Very soon, we will enter into the “most wonderful time of the year.” Many of us will don our winter coats and search for gifts to present to our families and friends on December 25th. Simultaneously, in the Church, we will celebrate the season of Advent, reverently remembering Christ’s first coming, and in this remembrance, anticipating the time when he will come to earth once again.
For those of you who aren’t so familiar with the Church’s traditions, the season of Advent begins four Sundays prior to Christmas. On that first Sunday, we retire the Gloria until Christmas Day. We light the Advent Wreath’s violet candles on the first, second, and fourth Sundays of Advent, and the clergy don violet vestments as a symbol for prayer, penance, and the preparatory sacrifices and good works undertaken during Advent. On the third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday, we light the rose-colored candle and don pink vestments to rejoice in being halfway through Advent.
Throughout this season of eager anticipation, we are called to intentional prayer and good works, using these to mindfully meditate and prepare for the Lord’s coming. In the Gospels, Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth to celebrate the conception of Jesus, and the three wise men traveled a great distance to visit the newborn Jesus and give him kingly, portentous gifts. Likewise, during this season, we ought to make time to reach out to our families and friends, acknowledging their importance in our lives, and also making sacrifices of time to give to those in need.
During this Advent season, I encourage us to be more mindful in our prayers and daily actions, to reconcile with those we’ve hurt, to forgive those who have hurt us, to give to those in need, and to faithfully mold ourselves into the people we would like to be when Jesus has again come to this world.