- Christmas, the feast celebrating the birth and incarnation of Jesus.
- His Second Coming, when Jesus will come at the end of time to judge all people; during Advent we focus on how ready we are for the second coming of Christ
- All times: Advent gives us time to examine our lives and see how we respond to Jesus Christ's presence in our lives each day
Advent is both a penitential and hopeful season. Just as John the Baptist called people to "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" (Matthew 3:2) and "Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths" (Matthew 3:3), we are called to prepare our lives for Jesus. We do this by: examining our conscience, expressing sorrow for our sins, praying for forgiveness, receiving the Sacrament of Penance, and practicing acts of kindness and love. Because of this penitential focus, the primary liturgical color for Advent is purple or violet.
However, Advent is not just about expressing sorrow for our sins. Advent is also meant to be a hopeful season. This is why the Third Sunday of Advent, called Gaudete Sunday, uses the color pink or rose. On this Sunday, we are reminded that Christ's coming is near and we should be filled with joy. Another symbol of hope during the Advent season is the Advent wreath. The green of the wreath represents hope that spring and new life will follow the cold winter months, and the candles represent hope that Christ, "The Light of the World," will come into our lives.
So during this Advent season, take time to prepare your hearts for Jesus!
For a brief overview of Advent, take a look at the video below: