See more images of Christmas at Saint George here.
In the Catholic Church, Advent is a period of preparation, extending over four Sundays, before Christmas.
The word Advent comes from the Latin advenio, “to come to,” and refers to the coming of Christ.
This refers, first of all, to our celebration of Christ’s birth at Christmas; but second, to the coming of Christ in our lives through grace and the Sacrament of Holy Communion; and finally, to His Second Coming at the end of time.
The Symbols of Advent
In its symbolism, the Church continues to stress the penitential and preparatory nature of Advent. As during Lent, priests wear purple vestments, and the Gloria (“Glory to God”) is omitted during Mass.
The only exception is on the Third Sunday of Advent, known as Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday, when priests wear rose-coloured vestments.
This special exception is designed to encourage us to continue our prayer and fasting, because we can see that Advent is more than halfway over and Christmas is coming near.
We can better enjoy Christmas—all 12 days of it, from Christmas Day to Epiphany—if we revive Advent as a period of preparation. Abstaining from meat on Fridays, or not eating at all between meals, is a good way to revive the Advent fast.
We can incorporate such customs as the Advent wreath, and we can set some time aside for special scripture readings for Advent, which remind us of the threefold coming of Christ.
Holding off on putting up the Christmas tree and other decorations is another way to remind ourselves that the feast is not here yet. Traditionally, such decorations were put up on Christmas Eve, but they wou
ld not be taken down until after Epiphany, in order to celebrate the Christmas season to its fullest.
Check dates and times of Christmastide’ services at the parish.
Learn more on the traditions of this special season and the opportunities available at St George with this leaflet.