The beginning of the new liturgical year: a time of joyful hope, anticipation, preparation and prayer; a time of getting ready for the coming of Our Lord in our hearts as we celebrate his coming to earth as a tiny infant.
Some thoughts from Fr. Z at "What Does the Prayer Really Say?":
It is now the season of “the Coming”, Advent. It is a time of muted joy in anticipation of remembering liturgically the First Coming of the Lord as an infant at Bethlehem. Advent is also, more significantly, a reminder that the Lord will have a Second Coming. Like lightning across the heavens Christ will come from the East as just Judge and King of fearful majesty. During Advent Holy Church dons purple vestments, in parallel with Lent before Easter. From ancient times all feasts had penitential vigils. Advent purple is an outward sign of our joy-infused penitential preparation for both Comings, though especially for our sacramental veneration of the Word Incarnate, the Christ Child.
This morning we made some beautiful beeswax Advent Candles (pictures forthcoming here if I get time for it!) and asked our new pastor to bless them after Mass. We set up the Jesse Tree (this one, from the same company that makes the beeswax candle kits, which we made last year). Now that my genius husband has fixed our color printer, I'm going to print out this Liturgical Year Wheel.
So, we're off to a good start. Of course, it's only the first day of Advent.... and it always goes so fast.... but I'm hoping that this year we'll really live the Advent season and appreciate all the Church teaches us about it.