In the middle of the winter, at the darkest time of year, Christians celebrate a great feast of light and love: Christmas!  At Christmas we celebrate the first coming of Our Lord, Jesus Christ and we also remind ourselves that he will be returning at the end of time and so we should keep ready.

And in order to prepare our hearts and our lives for the coming of the Lord at Christmas, the Catholic Church has set aside the four weeks before December 25th as a time of preparation and waiting.  This season of preparation is called Advent, which literally means “the coming of royalty.”

Advent is the beginning of our liturgical year, our church calendar.  It is the start of another year of being God’s holy people as we strive to live out the call of the Gospel in our lives.  And so we begin another year, reflecting on the first time our Lord came to us, as a baby born in Bethlehem, and we recommit ourselves to waiting in joyful hope for the Second Coming of the Savior.  In truth, there is also a hope and expectation that this Christmas we will also experience a deeper coming of the Lord into our lives and hearts.