What is Advent?
Advent, from the Latin adventus ("coming"), marks the beginning of the Church year (the Christian calendar), comprising the four weeks before Christmas. In recent years, Advent has been viewed as forming the first part of the three-part season of Christmas: (1) Advent; (2) Christmas; (3) Epiphany.
The season of Advent appears to have originated in Gaul (modern day France), in the second half of the fourth century A.D. At this time it was a three week fast before Christmas. We do not find the first mention of Advent in Rome, however, until the late sixth century.
From the beginning, Advent has been a season of preparation for Christ's coming. When Advent observances first began, Christians living in the West (the western part of the Roman Empire) emphasized preparation for the Second Coming of Christ. Christians in the East stressed preparation for the celebration of Christ's birth.
For many centuries Advent's overall tone was one of sorrow for sin and penance. But in keeping with the tone of the Scripture readings for the season, in our day the tone of Advent is one of anticipation and hope, as well as one of repentance.
This Sunday, our theme is HOPE. We can have hope because Advent calls us to watch for Emmanuel, God with us. God is with us. We can have hope!
The worship bulletin for Sunday is here, and a Bible study sheet for the week is here.