Advent DYK videos intro

In the early church, Easter was celebrated rather early. Christmas began to be celebrated soon after Emperor Constantine made Christianity acceptable in the Roman Empire in the fourth century. From Dec 17-23, as daylight started to return, the Romans celebrated a major festival dedicated to Saturn, the god of agriculture, known as Saturnalia. The church decided to baptize that Roman pagan feast in honor of the “unconquerable sun” by devoting it to the birth of the “Son” of God, zeroing in on Dec 25. Such an important celebration necessitated a time of preparation, thus began the season of Advent. Originally it was modeled on the forty days of Lent with similar timeframe, colors and the focus of penance, fasting and conversion. Soon, the Roman church shifted the time frame to the four Sundays before Dec 25 with the focus being one of joyful anticipation. Eventually the two themes were joined. To this day the Advent season from the first Sunday of Advent to Dec 16 stresses repentance and conversion and from Dec 17-24 we focus our attention on the joyful anticipation of the celebration of God-with-Us on Dec 25. View this video and learn more about the origins of Advent and its meaning and significance for us today.

While we are currently celebrating the Advent season, there are several other church feasts that take place during this time. In this Do You Know Series video, Pastoral Associate Biagio Mazza takes a closer look at five of these feasts.

In this Do You Know Series video, Pastoral Associate Biagio Mazza takes a closer look at the backdrop for three key symbols of Advent – the Advent Wreath, the Jesse Tree and the manger.

As we enter into a new liturgical year beginning with the Advent season, this Do You Know video examines why John the Baptist is so prominent during the Advent Season. Advent is a time of waiting and of joyful anticipation and expectation for the coming of the Lord. We celebrate the Lord’s coming 2000 years ago as a baby, his return at the end of time, and his constant and abiding presence here with us now. According to Scripture, John the Baptist’s identity and mission are to prepare the way for the Lord’s coming. The second and third Sundays of Advent in every Lectionary year, focus on John the Baptist sharing his wisdom regarding the best way to prepare for the coming of the Lord. In the second Sunday of Advent in Lectionary Year C, John the Baptist challenges us to prepare the way of the Lord by levelling mountains and filling in valleys, thus making a straight and direct path for our God. In the third Sunday of Advent in Lectionary Year C, John speaks of various ways in which we can make a straight way for our God. First we should be content with what we have and share that with others. Secondly, we should live justly, always building right relationships with all, treating all with dignity, respect and of infinite worth, even those we do not like. Thirdly, to be people who advocate and promote peace. John challenges us to be people who share, who live justly and who work for peace. This message is countercultural to our lived experience, especially during Advent. That is why the liturgy provides John the Baptist as a focal point for what Advent and preparing the way for the Lord are all about.

The word “Advent” means the “coming” of someone or something important. As we begin the Advent season we recall the coming of Christ in three different ways. The first coming focuses on Jesus coming as a full human being 2000 years ago, something we recall and celebrate at Christmas. The second coming focuses on Christ returning at the end of time to bring all of creation to fulfillment. The third coming zeroes in on the continual coming of Christ into our daily lives here and now. This third coming of Christ is the one that we focus the least on during the Advent season, yet it is considerably the most important coming of Christ. Make time to view this week’s Do You Know video and reflect on why this third coming of Christ is the most important one during this Advent Season.

In the early church, Christmas was not officially celebrated till the time of Constantine roughly around the years 325-350. The Romans celebrated a week long festival called Saturnalia in honor of Saturn and the return of the sun and fertility, culminating on Dec 25. The Christian community simply baptized the festival and dedicated it to the coming of God in the person of Jesus, choosing Dec 25 to celebrate Jesus’ birth. A period of time was set aside to joyfully prepare for the celebration of Jesus’ birth which would soon become known as Advent. From Dec 17 to Dec 23, the Christian community, using messianic titles from the Old Testament, daily called upon God to come and be with us. Known as the “O Antiphons” these short prayers are still used today on the week before Christmas, to invite the Lord to come and be with us always. Make time to view this week’s Do You Kmow video and learn more about the “O Antiphons” so that you too can use these brief prayers to welcome the Lord to be with you always