In the Western Church Advent 2021 begins this coming Sunday,28th November, this will be the 4th Sunday before Christmas, in the Eastern and Celtic churches it has already begun.
What is Advent?
Advent is a liturgical season observed by most Christian denominations as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for both the celebration of Christ’s Nativity at Christmas and Christ’s return at the Second Coming. In Western Christianity, Advent marks the start of the liturgical year and is part of the broader Christmas and holiday season.
The name was derived from the Latin adventus, which means “coming; arrival,” and was a translation of the Greek parousia. This is the term used in the New Testament to refer to Christ’s Second Coming. Thus, the Christian calendar’s Advent season anticipates the “coming of Christ” from three perspectives: the physical nativity in Bethlehem, the reception of Christ in the believer’s heart, and the eschatological Second Coming. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advent]
The name “Advent” is also used in Eastern Orthodoxy to refer to the 40-day Nativity Fast, which has different rituals than those in the West. [The Nativity Fast is a period of abstinence and penance observed by the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church in preparation for Jesus’ Nativity on December 25. Advent is the term given to the comparable Western season of preparation for Christmas, which has also been known as the Nativity Fast and St. Martin’s Lent. The Eastern fast lasts 40 days rather than four (in the Roman Rite) or six weeks (in the Ambrosian Rite) and concentrates on the proclamation and glory of God’s Incarnation, whereas the Western Advent focuses on Jesus Christ’s two comings (or advents): his birth and his Second Coming or Parousia.]
The Byzantine fast is observed From November 15 to December 24. These dates relate to Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches that follow the Revised Julian calendar, which currently corresponds to the Gregorian calendar. Winter Lent does not begin until November 28 (Gregorian) for those Eastern Orthodox churches that still use the Julian calendar (Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Russian Orthodox Church, Romanian Orthodox Church, Serbian Orthodox Church, Polish Orthodox Church, Georgian Orthodox Church, Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Macedonian Orthodox Church, and Mount Athos). On the Gregorian calendar, the Ancient Church of the East fasts from sunrise to sunset from December 1 to December 25.
Sometimes the fast is called Philip’s Fast (or the Philippian Fast), as it traditionally begins on the day following the Feast of St. Philip the Apostle (November 14). Some churches, such as the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, have abbreviated the fast to start on December 10, following the Feast of the Conception by Saint Anne of the Most Holy Theotokos.[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nativity_Fast]
Celtic Advent began on Monday 15th November
As Celtic Catholics or Catholic Celts we also celebrate the season of Advent – here is a pdf with various information for the Celtic Advent-Celtic-Advent-Calendar-2021 – Christ our Hope Community (christ-our-hope-community.net)
It is entitled :
Ideas for Living Joyfully: Forty Days of Celtic Advent & the Twelve Days of Christmas 2021
For today -25th November the Celtic church recommends
Invite a single person to join you for a meal in person or via Zoom.
On a more informal note :In the sixth century, Celtic Christians observed Advent during the 40 days preceding Christmas as a parallel to the period of Lent preceding Easter. In this day and age of blending holy days and commercialisation, I favour the concept of beginning Advent earlier, not just to incorporate Thanksgiving, but also to allow for a lengthier, more focused preparation for Christ’s return.
The “O” antiphons are another custom that dates back to the 6th century (and possibly before). An antiphon was a repeated phrase of scripture used as bookends to the psalms in daily prayer and the Eucharist, derived from the Latin antiphona, which means “sounding against.” The antiphon was a prayer “sound-byte,” conveying the most important portion of the reading and aiding those present in remembering through repetition.
The “O” antiphons highlight the canonical name of Christ and provide a starting point for contemplation. The lines of the Advent song O Come, O Come Emmanuel is based on a variant of these antiphons. From December 17 to December 23, they are still prayed in many churches, as they have been for almost 1500 years.
In our consumer-culture celebration, Christmas appears to end abruptly on December 26th. Another forgotten ritual is the Twelve Days of Christmas from Christmas until Epiphany. The term “Epiphany” refers to the Magi’s visit to Jesus, his baptism in the Jordan–the public revelation that he is God’s Son–and the first miracle at the wedding feast in Cana. The time between December 25th and January 6th is appropriate for thinking about the Light that came into the world with the birth of Christ.
On January 6th, the anniversary of the Magi’s visit to Jesus, youngsters dress up as the three magi bearing a star (the Sternsingers) and travel house to house singing. This practice is most popular in Germany and Austria as a means of raising awareness and funds for global children’s needs, although it has been used in the church since the 16th century. The singers also write the blessing 20+C+M+B+20 on the lintel or door of each house, which marks the year and has a double meaning: CMB is an abbreviation for Casper, Melchior, and Balthasar, the three Magi’s traditional names, as well as a house blessing: Christus Mansionem Benedicat (Christ bless this house!).
I’ve produced a calendar of ideas for living each day consciously and cheerfully by combining these four practises.
The ability to give and experience love and joy doesn’t just happen, it needs to be stretched and strengthened. And over time, the capacity to love and to joy increases.
Let the Holy Spirit lead! https://contemplativecottage.com/celtic-advent-calendar/
Prepare a way for the Lord!
Show me, Lord Jesus, how I may best prepare to celebrate Your birth into this world. Show me those things I need to repent of, that I may find Your forgiveness. Show me how to avoid the greed and selfishness of this season and focus on what is truly essential. Amen.https://www.northumbriacommunity.org/saints/celtic-advent-november-16th/