Learn more about the first season of the Church’s year.
The word ‘Advent’, from the Latin adventus (in Greek, parousia), means ‘coming’ or ‘arrival’. The Advent Season is focused on anticipating the arrival of Jesus as Messiah. The worship, scripture readings and prayers not only prepare us spiritually for Christmas (His First Coming), but also for His eventual Second Coming.
This is why the Bible readings during Advent include both Old Testament passages related to the expected Messiah, and New Testament passages concerning Jesus’ Second Coming as judge of all. Also, passages about John the Baptist, the precursor who prepared the way for the Messiah, are read. All of these themes are present in Catholic worship during Advent, which the Catechism succinctly describes:
When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior’s first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming. By celebrating the precursor’s birth and martyrdom, the Church unites herself to his desire: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (CCC, 524)
Since Advent looks forward to Christ’s birth and Incarnation, it is an appropriate way to begin the Church’s New Liturgical Year. However, Advent is not part of the Christmas season itself, but a preparation for it.
The Jesse Tree
The Advent Jesse tree reminds us of the people, prophesies and events leading up to Jesus birth and especially the Prophet Isaiah’s prophecy: “A shoot shall grow out of the stock of Jesse and a branch shall grow out of his roots.” Jesse is the Father of King David and King David was promised that his throne will last forever. This is only made possible through Jesus who is a direct descendent of King David through his foster father St Joseph, his legal father and guardian. The gifts will go to the SSVDP Special Works conference, ‘Our Lady of the Wayside’, reaching out to homeless and the poor.