Remember “The Love Boat?” It was a somewhat unfunny but long-running TV show that took some major and not so major celebrities and cast them in little vignettes that were wrapped up in the context of a cruise. Well, wrapped up in the context of the Season of Advent (a somewhat penitential and preparation season leading to Christmas), are some vignettes featuring our Catholic celebrities of holiness – the saints. While we think of Advent as the season in which we prepare the way for the birth of Christ, it also features a number of saint days that remind us how these saints lived preparing for life with Christ in heaven. Now, while we won’t hear of “Love Boat” type-folks like Charo, Jimmy Walker, Jamie Farr or Norman Fell, we will hear about great holy men and women who served God well. To wit, here are the saints of Advent:
The Easter season has begun and in our Catholic faith, Easter is the primary holy day and season of the year. Many folks look at Christmas as the biggest feast of the church year because it represents God coming in the flesh. Thinking that Christmas is the main feast of the church is understandable, but that is not the case.
Easter is the day around which the entire church year revolves.
“We three kings of Orient are bearing gifts we traverse afar.”
It’s in the beautiful hymn “We Three Kings” that most people glean their understanding of the holy day we call “Epiphany.” However, if our only understanding of Epiphany is from that hymn, we are left with an incomplete knowledge of the significance of Epiphany.
For The Dialog
The season of Advent has arrived, and for the church this is a very special season that prepares us spiritually, eschatologically and logistically for Christ. Spiritually, it focuses us on God coming into world in the flesh (incarnate) at Christmas in the person of Jesus Christ. Eschatologically (meaning looking toward the end-times), it prepares us for the Second Coming of Christ, when he will come not as Savior of mankind, but as its judge. Logistically, it revs up the engine of the new church year during which we worship and celebrate our savior, Jesus Christ. The first Sunday of Advent is our New Year’s Day.
The word Advent is from the Latin “adventus” for “coming” and is the name of the four-week period of preparation leading up to the birth of the Lord on Christmas. Advent always begins on the Sunday nearest the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle (Nov. 30) and it continues through four consecutive Sundays until the start of the first Mass of Christmas celebrated in the evening on Dec. 24.