Newsletter 1st & 8th December 2019
Today is Advent Sunday, the first Sunday of Advent. A special time given to us by the Church to prepare in a spiritual way for the great event we commemorate each year on 25th December – the Incarnation, the birth, of Jesus, the Word made flesh!
The season of Advent also asks us to look forward to Christ’s Second Coming – as we say in the Creed each week, He will come again in glory, so we look forward not only to commemorating with great joy Christ’s coming 2000 years ago, but also His coming again as he promised!
But there is a third coming that is as important as the two above – Christ’s coming again into our hears this Christmas! And this is something we can start to prepare for now. How might we do this? There will certainly be a lot of Church and parish events that will help us. Advent Carol services, Advent Reconciliations, school nativity plays, as well of course our Sunday and weekday Masses. But why not also spend some extra time in prayer (the busier we are, the more time we should pray!) and/or take a spiritual book to read and contemplate with?
This Sunday we will light the first of the candles in our Advent wreath. The four candles represent the four weeks of Advent. A tradition is that each week represents one thousand years, the sum of the 4,000 years from Adam and Eve until the Birth of the Saviour. Three candles are purple and one is rose. The purple candles in particular symbolize the prayer, penance and preparatory sacrifices undertaken at this time. The rose candle is lit on the third Sunday, Gaudete Sunday, when the priest also wears rose vestments at Mass; Gaudete Sunday is the Sunday of rejoicing, because the faithful have arrived at the midpoint of Advent, when their preparation is now half over and they are close to Christmas. The progressive lighting of the candles symbolizes the expectation and hope surrounding our Lord’s first coming into the world and the anticipation of His second coming.