Today we celebrate the Second Sunday of Advent. The season of Advent began in the evening of Saturday, December 2nd and will end in the afternoon of December 24th. Side note: Notice that the season of Christmas in the Church doesn’t end on December 25th, but it starts on that day.
Advent comes from the Latin word meaning "coming." This season has a two-fold character:
- It is a time of preparation for the Solemnities of Christmas, in which the First Coming of the Son of God to humanity is remembered.
- It is a time when, by remembrance of this, minds and hearts are led to look forward to Christ’s Second Coming at the end of time.
For these two reasons, Advent is a time of devout and expectant delight (Universal Norms for the Liturgical Year, 39).
During this liturgical season, you will see different elements at Mass that I hope you have already noticed:
- The proper color for Advent is violet or purple, unless there is a special liturgical celebration, such as the Immaculate Conception and the Third Sunday of Advent. That Sunday is called Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday and priests can wear rose vestments.
- During Advent, the floral decoration of the altar should be arranged in a moderate manner suited to this time of the year, without anticipating the full joy of the Nativity of the Lord.
- The Gloria (Glory to God in the Highest) is not said or sung during the season of Advent, unless there is a special feast or solemnity, such as the Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Guadalupe.
- A candle of the Advent Wreath will be lit each week. The circular shape of the wreath, without beginning or end, symbolizes God’s complete and unending love for us. There are four candles: one pink and three purple; one for each week of Advent. Some wreaths have a fifth candle (white) that is lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.