Advent: A Time for Reflection


Credit: Family Formation Blog

These traditional advent candles represent the four Sundays leading up to Christmas, and are often placed in churches.

As the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season begins, the liturgical season of Advent often goes overlooked and unnoticed. Why is it even important to give a second thought to the three violet candles and one rose on the wreath at mass or on your dining room table? 

Advent is a time of waiting for the coming of the Christ Child and offers the faithful to participate in a joyful time of waiting. Advent is a time meant to allow people to prepare themselves for the Solemnity of Christmas, and is in many ways like Lent. Although many do not do the same sacrifices as they would for Lent (fasting, stations of the cross, etc.), Advent does present the opportunity for a designated time to focus on improving prayer life and valuing the importance of sacrifice. As the Christmas story goes, Jesus was born in a place meant for animals, displaying that the importance of the holiday is not centered around materialism, but rather the joy in sacrifice and the value in humility.

The word “advent” stems from the Latin word “adventus” meaning arrival or coming, referring to the period of waiting for the nativity of Christ, but also for the second coming of Christ at the end of the world. Historically, the idea of Advent being a time of waiting for the second coming was prevalent in Christianity until the Middle Ages when Christians tied it to waiting for the birth of Christ.

So how can we live Advent well? With less than two weeks until Christmas, it may be tempting to skip over Advent and get right to Christmas mode. However, taking a break from the Christmas preparations to meditate on the significance of the coming of Jesus will make Christmas all the more special and gives us a greater appreciation for the season. One of the main ways to meditate is through the Bible, particularly Luke’s Gospel as he gives the most detailed account of the nativity narrative of Christ. However, the Old Testament is also a great thing to read in preparation for Christmas. The Old Testament, particularly the book of Isaiah is full of foreshadowing to Christ’s birth and eventual passion and death. Isaiah 7:14 reads: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” This verse is actually referenced in Matthew’s Gospel after the angel Gabriel appears to Joseph in a dream, directly fulfilling the prophecies about the coming of the Messiah. Isaiah 9 is also great to read during Advent as it discusses the prophecies of the Messiah coming as a child to bring peace.

So as we decorate, shop and prepare to spend time with family, it’s good to pause and take part in the “watchful waiting” that Christians are called to do during this Advent season.


Alanna Hyatt ‘22, Politics Editor and Bella Convery ‘22, Social Media Editor