Sunday, Nov. 29, marked the advent of Advent – a traditional Catholic observance that often gets upstaged by Thanksgiving on one end and Christmas on the other, especially now that the Christmas season seems to begin on Black Friday or even earlier!
But Advent is important. For one thing, it’s the liturgical version of New Year’s Day. Everything begins with Advent. Catholics prepare themselves during this time, through prayer and fasting, to be in the right place spiritually to celebrate the anniversary of Christ’s birth and to receive him as our Redeemer.
First Things editor Joseph Bottum writes that Christmas needs Advent, and Advent needs Christmas:
“Through all the preparatory readings, through all the genealogical Jesse trees, the somber candles on the wreaths, the vigils, and the hymns, Advent keeps Christmas on Christmas Day: a fulfillment, a perfection, of what had gone before. I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh.”
This Advent, we should contemplate the hope we have in Christ, and how we can share that hope with others. We bear the good news the world has been waiting for! And we can demonstrate the power of the message by joining it with acts of compassion, such as by providing food, shelter, and medical care for orphans.
Like the angel who appeared to the shepherds bearing the news of Christ’s birth, you can be a bearer of peace and hope to the world. Celebrate this Advent by joining with Cross Catholic and serving the poorest of the poor today!