(Rerun. The first Sunday of Advent this year was December 12th.)
Today is the first day of the liturgical year. It also marks the beginning of the season of penitence that precedes the feast of Christmas.
Unlike in the modern time, in the old days (and in our own home now) Christmas does not begin to be celebrated until Christmas Eve, which is when carols are sung, stockings are hung, and the tree is decorated. Advent is the time to be quiet, which is why the Bavarians call it the “stade Zeit” (calm time).
Instead of celebrating Christmas early, Advent is a time for solemn reflection, “as we wait in joyful hope, for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ”. We wait not just to celebrate His birth, but to celebrate the fact that He will come again. It is a celebration of both arrivals, that which was in the past and that which is in the future.
In our home, we count down with an Advent wreath and calendars for the children, we bake cookies and listen to soothing Advent instrumentals.