Advent: time of preparation for Christmas

the christian advent It is a time of preparation for the solemnities of Christmas in which we commemorate the first coming of the Son of God among men, and a time where we wait with faith for the second coming of our Savior at the end of time.

The term “advent” comes from the Latin noun, masculine singular, “adventus” which means: “arrival, arrival, coming, advent”. Adventus is the name of effect or result derived from “adventum” from the verb “advenire” (to arrive), composed of “ad” (to, towards) and the verb “venire” (to come). This verb is used with many prefixes and has given Spanish numerous words such as “venir”, “ventura”, “buenaventura”, “avenida”, “aventura”, “adveniente”, “convenir”, “convento”, “evento” and others.

It is a word of profane origin that designated the annual passage of the pagan divinity through the temple to visit its worshipers. The god, whose worship the statue received, was believed to remain with them during the solemnity. In common language, this was also the name given to the first official visit of an important person when he assumed a high position. Thus, some Corinthian coins perpetuate the memory of the “adventus augustii”, and a chronicler calls the day the Emperor Constantine arrived “adventus divi”.


It is not known from when the celebration begins. In the ancient lectionaries of Capua and Wursenburg they refer to the Adventu Domini. In the Gregorian and Gelasian lectionaries there are some prayers with the title Orationes de Adventu. Later the Sundays begin to appear before Adventum Domini, in which the term adventus is associated with the preparation for Christmas.

Although this season is very peculiar to the Western Churches, its original impulse probably came from the Eastern Churches, where it was common, after the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus in 431, to dedicate sermons on the Sundays before Christmas to the subject of the Annunciation. In Ravenna, Italy – a channel of Eastern influence to the Western church – Saint Peter Chrysostom (d. 450) gave these homilies, or sermons. The first reference to this season is when Bishop Perpetuo de Tours (461-490) established a fast before Christmas that began on November 11 (Saint Martin’s Day). The Council of Tours (567) mentions the season of Advent. This custom, which was known as Saint Martin’s Lent, spread to various churches in France by the Council of Macon in 581.


The Christian Advent has two characteristics: a) it is a time of preparation for the solemnities of Christmas in which we commemorate the first coming of the Son of God among men, and b) a time where we wait with faith for the second coming of our Savior at the end. of the times.

We must take into account that the entire annual liturgical calendar guides us to a constant preparation in the Christian life, but the season of Advent proposes, each year, “a sweet wait”, to prepare ourselves in a special way, to react, to be expectant, in the Christian path of God that is given to us in temporality and in the succession of days and years. The flesh of the Son of God that touched time sanctified him and that given time in the course of history carries the grace of God, and appropriating it by faith, we reach the final destination: the encounter with God.

Our Christian life is an “Adventist spirituality”, living in faith is living looking ahead, in vigilance and expectation. Faith and hope are convertible terms, since faith is an act of waiting, in the sense of reaching the supreme good of our lives, which is the Lord.

All Sacred Scripture, we could say, is an expectation of the question of God coming to men. From Genesis to Revelation, God’s revelation is shown that continuously, like waves of the sea, reaches man and makes himself known. The characters in sacred history are true expectants, holy men who wait for God, who trust in his arrival. The entire Old Testament is a preparation awaiting the arrival of the Messiah. Once the time of the birth of the Lord has come, the stories of childhood in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke show the sacred actors awaiting the birth of the Child, the Baptist awaiting Jesus preparing his way and the entire “self-kingdom of Jesus” (Origins ) is a proclamation of the Kingdom present in his person and of the final Kingdom that he will establish at the end of the story.

  • John the Baptist and the wait for the Messiah

In these days of the so-called Advent season, which we have begun, it is good to gradually refocus attention on the manger scene, looking at Jesus, Joseph and Mary. But also not to forget and to dialogue in prayer with a character of great importance and he teaches us a lot about what “John the Baptist” is like. Fundamental for the arrival of the Son of God.

When we open the Gospels, “heart of Sacred Scripture”, they open their narratives presenting the Baptist as a “joint character”: he is the last sacred actor of the Old Testament and at the same time he is the one who opens the New. He appears mentioned 46 times in the writings of the New Testament in two ways, with the name “John” and with the qualifier preceded by the Greek article “or” (he) referring to his task: “Baptist”, that is, “John the baptist”. The evangelist who quotes him the most is Matthew (16 times) and in second place John (12 times). In these lines we will only say something about the Baptist as “forerunner of the Lord.”

The gospels present it as the one that precedes the public manifestation of Jesus, preparing the people spiritually. His preaching revolves around two axes: authentic interior conversion and the imminent arrival of the Kingdom of Heaven in the person of Jesus. The synoptic gospels summarize his “pioneering” activity, backing it up with a quote from the prophet Isaiah, 40.3: “a voice cries out in the desert: prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight”.

Why preach in the desert?

The expression “desert” has a double connotation: a) geographically the Baptist would have inhabited the area of ​​the lower valley of the Jordan River, near Jericho, at the mouth of the Dead Sea; b) symbolically: the desert was always the place for Israel to meet with God: the liberation from Egypt towards the promised land is given by walking through the desert. The Baptist waiting for the appearance of Jesus in the desert is located in the same line as the prophets and the Jewish apocalyptic call waiting for the manifestation of God. The desert, say the Jewish rabbis, is the place of the Word. The Baptist fed himself with the products that that semi-desert region offered him. The “wild honey” was produced by bees in the hollows of the trees and in the clefts of the stones. The “lobsters” were roasted on the fire or cooked with water and salt. Dressed in a “camel skin and a leather belt on his loins” describes the Baptist’s asceticism accompanied by his crude preaching. This way of dressing is reminiscent of the prophet Elijah mentioned in the Book of Kings (1,8). The Baptist teaches us a path of hope, humility, sobriety and a sincere reunion of our hearts with Jesus who is drawing near.

By Fabrizio Pons
Parish Santa Barbara de Pocito

Advent: time of preparation for Christmas