Advent began on Sunday November 29 and ends on Thursday December 24. The first Sunday in Advent is seen as the beginning of a new church calendar. The season of Advent covers four Sundays and ends on Christmas Eve--leading to the celebration of the birth of baby Jesus, born in a manger in Bethlehem 2020 years ago.
The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival.” It is a period of preparation to remember the First Coming of Jesus and of being ready for his Second Coming into the world as Judge. During the four Sundays, four candles are successively lit in church services with a fifth and final one lit on Christmas as the Christ candle. Each candle represents a virtue: hope, love, joy and peace. The belief is that Jesus was sent into the world as the Light of the World to give the light of God to a dark world and to give us these four virtues. One theme of Advent is to hear the voices of prophets like Isaiah and John the Baptist who called the people to turn to one who would bring a message of good news to all.