Advent is a period of spiritual preparation in which many Christians make themselves ready for the coming, or birth of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Celebrating Advent typically involves a season of prayer, fasting and repentance, followed by anticipation, hope and joy.
Many Christians celebrate Advent not only by thanking God for Christ's first coming to Earth as a baby, but also for his presence among us today through the Holy Spirit, and in preparation and anticipation of his final coming at the end of time.
When my mother was a girl she told us Grandma put up the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve after they had gone to bed and the first they saw it was Christmas morning. When I was a girl, it was put up probably about a week before Christmas, a custom I've stuck with over the years. Our tree was always left up until Epiphany.
With the advent (oh gosh - another pun?) of artificial trees which are unlikely to burst into flames, people put their trees up earlier and earlier and take them down earlier. It's not uncommon to see people take their Christmas decorations down the day after the celebration of the birth of Christ.
This year I'm breaking with custom and putting my tree up next weekend. However, it will remain up until Epiphany on Jan. 6th.
What Advent customs do you have? Perhaps an Advent wreath or a Jesse tree? Special prayers? Tree - real or fake? I've had fake for over 50 years. I'm super paranoid about fire and wouldn't want my fur kids to be trapped in a burning house. Besides, real trees are super expensive now.
Gospel for the First Sunday of AdventExtraordinary Form
25 “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.
26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.
27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
29 He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees.
30 When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near.
31 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.
32 “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.