A Time to Ponder the Magnificence of Christ as God's Gift to Us!
Salvation history reached its zenith in the Christ-event: from Jesus' incarnation and birth to His passion, death and resurrection, and now on within the history of the Church. At the beginning of the liturgical year, we prepare for and celebrate His coming to us.
Holy Advent is our season of anticipation. By calling to mind Christ's many comings to us - in creation, throughout salvation history (and especially in the prophecies and sacred writings of the Hebrew peoples), and in a most special way as Incarnate of the Blessed Virgin Mary - we ready ourselves to meet Him. The Scriptures of this season do not only tell the story of the first Christmas, although that is the principal focus of the last 7 days of Advent. Our Bible readings at Mass and at other Hours of the day recall events which heralded the coming of Jesus Christ long before He came, Christ's forerunners in person and action.
The liturgical color of Advent is violet. This is reminiscent of our need to do penance in preparation for Christ's coming: the message of St. John the Baptist was "Prepare the way of the Lord" (Mk 1:3b), by "proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins" (Mk 1:4). But the lighter hues of violet also resemble the color of the heavens just before dawn. "The tender mercy of our God will visit us from on high like the daybreak," sang Zechariah as the time of the New Testament began (Lk 1:78). On the 3rd Sunday of Advent, the clergy wear rose-colored vestments while pink candles are lit in churches and homes, as an indication of the ever-increasing joy of the Advent season, so near is the Lord to us!