Malankara World

Advent - Waiting for the Savior

Christmas Star
Advent - Candles

The word "Advent" is derived from the Latin word adventus, meaning "coming," which is a translation of the Greek word parousia. Scholars believe that during the 4th and 5th centuries in Spain and Gaul, Advent was a season of preparation for the baptism of new Christians at the January feast of Epiphany, the celebration of God's incarnation represented by the visit of the Magi to the baby Jesus (Matthew 2:1-2), his baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist (John 1:29-33), and his first miracle at Cana (John 2:1-11). During this season of preparation, Christians would spend 40 days in penance, prayer, and fasting to prepare for this celebration; originally, there was little connection between Advent and Christmas.

By the 6th century, however, Roman Christians had tied Advent to the coming of Christ. But the "coming" they had in mind was not Christ's first coming in the manger in Bethlehem, but his second coming in the clouds as the judge of the world. It was not until the Middle Ages that the Advent season was explicitly linked to Christ's first coming at Christmas.

Today, the Advent season, which begins on the Sunday that falls between November 27th and December 3rd, lasts for four Sundays leading up to Christmas.

While it is difficult to keep in mind in the midst of holiday celebrations, shopping, lights and decorations, and joyful carols, Advent is intended to be a season of fasting and there are a variety of ways that this time of mourning works itself out in the season. Reflection on the violence and evil in the world cause us to cry out to God to make things right - to put death's dark shadows to flight. Our own sinfulness and need for grace leads us to pray for the Holy Spirit to renew his work in conforming us into the image of Christ.

One catechism describes Advent spirituality beautifully: "When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior's first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming. By celebrating the precursor's birth and martyrdom, the Church unites herself to his desire: 'He must increase, but I must decrease.'"

Source: Justin Holcombis: What Is Advent?

Learn more about individual weeks of Advent with sermons, devotionals, etc.

Advent Week 1 Advent Week 2 Advent Week 3 Advent Week 4
General Articles on Advent
Christmas Fast by His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas
Christmas fast is practiced in preparation for welcoming the commemorative day of Lord Jesusí birth in the flesh and in memory of the grief brought by sin, which we experienced before the Lordís birth. The darkness of ignorance, Satanís enslavement of us, and the infliction of the created world, in expectation of salvation accomplished through the birth of the savior, who redeemed us by His incarnation. ...

Advent-Christmas Season in Orthodox Church
The pre-Christmas Cycle has six Sundays, which all focus on the unfolding revelation of the Birth of the Messiah. This is done in the context of the immediate family of Jesus, centering on Mary and Joseph (Matthew 1, 2; Luke 1, 2). This is certainly in line with the Antiochene emphasis on the humanity of Jesus and its appreciation of the historical aspect of Scripture. The greatest Announcement, of course, is that of the angels on Christmas. ...

Advent Season by Pope Benedict XVI
In Advent, Christians relive a dual impulse of the spirit: on the one hand, they raise their eyes towards the final destination of their pilgrimage through history, which is the glorious return of the Lord Jesus; on the other, remembering with emotion his birth in Bethlehem, they kneel before the Crib.

Advent - A Season of Hope by Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D.
Faith, hope, and love. St. Paul, in I Corinthians 13:13, says these three are the bottom line. They are called the theological virtues, the qualities that make us most like God. We hear plenty about faith and love. But when is the last time you heard a rousing homily on hope? Why is hope important? And what is it precisely? ...

God's Self-Revelation in Christ Corresponds to Our Deepest Human Hopes and Aspirations by Pope Benedict XVI
St. Paul helps us to understand how all creation and, in particular, man and woman are not the result of chance, but are part of a loving plan of God's eternal mind, who with the creative and redemptive power of his Word creates the world. This reminds us that our purpose is being chosen by God, even before the creation of the world, in His Son, Jesus Christ. In him we exist, from always. God contemplates us in Christ...

Advent Is Upon Us by Dr. Jacob Mathew, Malankara World
We make elaborate preparations for Christmas. However, on every Sunday, we encounter Jesus in the Holy Qurbano. We partake on the Living Sacrifice; we receive him into our lives when we eat his body and drink his blood. Are we doing that without any second thoughts? Are we prepared? Advent is a season to reflect on it. ...

Avoiding Advent Pitfalls  by Gary Zimak
As we look back on past Advents most of us have done a poor job preparing to welcome Christ. Sure, we've prepared for Christmas by buying gifts, decorating and baking and we've probably reflected on the Lord's birth, but have we honestly followed the Church's instructions to "Prepare the way of the Lord"? ...

Why did Jesus Christ come?
The word savior literally means "rescuer." So why did Jesus come? Jesus came to give you salvation. He came to rescue you. It is important to realize this salvation, this rescue, has individual and corporate implications. Let us look at this rescue, this salvation, in a three-step, time progressional perspective. ...

Bringing Our Fallen-away Relations Back to Church During Advent by Rev. John Horgan
Each Christmas, our churches are thronged with people who come to pray, join in the singing of carols, and feel the warmth of the Saviour's love. Some of these men and women do not practice the Faith regularly. Some are estranged from the Church, angry at her teachings, hurt by her representatives; a larger number simply live their lives as if the Church had no place in their world, no bearing on their lifestyles, careers, and choices. . . except at Christmas. ...

Embarking on a Voyage of the Dawn Treader: Four Virtues of Advent by Dr. Gina Burkart
The Season of Advent naturally personifies each of these virtues. And, the Advent wreath provides us with a chance to learn and share with each other what these virtues really represent. For example, each week of Advent could be devoted to one of the virtues. And, the Christmas story could be used to personify the significance of that virtue. ...

The Journey To Bethlehem is Not Comfortable! by Gary Zimak
During the season of Advent, we are all invited to travel our own personal "road to Bethlehem". When we arrive at our destination on Christmas Day, we will hopefully be closer to the Lord than when we began the journey.

Advent Season - a Season of Preparation
 "Advent" is simply the Latin word for "coming." We can think about two comings or visits. The first is the arrival of the Christmas Season and the arrival of baby Jesus on Christmas Day. It celebrates the incarnation of God, the chosen messiah.

How Do We Prepare Well for the Coming of the Lord
By Receiving The Eucharist In A State Of Grace And By Praying Daily In Preparation For receiving The Sacraments.

Advent as an Antidote to Christian Boredom by Mike Pohlman
Years ago a pastor convinced me that one of the most tragic consequences of the fall of mankind into sin is that we cease to wonder. Things that at one time would amaze and astound us can become ordinary. This tendency to no longer wonder -- to cease to marvel at these incredible aspects of life -- reaches its most grotesque form when we cease to wonder at the Gospel. ...

Advent - Awaiting the King
Christmas is a time to celebrate the truth of Jesusí birth. But that birth, for it to truly be the special thing that we long for it to be, needs to be seen in a bigger picture. You see, the people of Jesusí day had been waiting for a Messiah for centuries. They had been expecting, longing, trusting that God would send a savior. What Christmas really is is a celebration of the fact that God keeps his promises.

A Wonderful Night: An Interpretation of Christmas by James H. Snowden
This classic book treats the various events and steps that led to the central wonder on the night that heard angels sing, and was starred with the Birth of Bethlehem. It interprets the story in terms of its significance today and invests it with poetic light.

Jesus - The Gift That Keeps On Giving
The story of Jesus' birth is interesting because it shows us how to receive all the promises of God. I know people like to put everything on God, but you have a part to play in receiving the promises of God. There's a spiritual exchange that has to take place.

Advent: Awaiting God's Justice by Pope Benedict XVI
Advent watchfulness means living in God's presence and according to his criteria in order to prepare a worthy dwelling-place for the promised Savior

A Season of Hope by Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D.
Faith, hope, and love. St. Paul, in I Corinthians 13:13, says these three are the bottom line. They are called the theological virtues, the qualities that make us most like God.

Must We Believe the Virgin Birth? by Albert Mohler
Even if the Virgin Birth was taught by only one biblical passage, that would be sufficient to obligate all Christians to the belief. We have no right to weigh the relative truthfulness of biblical teachings by their repetition in Scripture. We cannot claim to believe that the Bible is the Word of God and then turn around and cast suspicion on its teaching.

The Incarnation
Christmas is about God coming down to earth to demonstrate how we should live. For many years his children had been guided by written instructions. The Law of Moses, epitomized by the 10 Commandments, was a divinely inspired record of do's and don'ts. The law taught that we should love our neighbor as ourselves and love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. Those were the written instructions. But it took God becoming man to demonstrate what it means to love our neighbor.

Peace, Love, and Angels
In a world torn and ragged, Christ alone offers true peace. Let us soak in this peace as we remember the night he lay as an infant in a tumultuous world he would soon change forever. Let us soak in this peace as we partake of the Lord's Supper and remember that his body was broken out of love for us. Let us become this peace, in a world so full of violence, abuse, and ignorance. For we cannot change the world; but we can open up our own hearts to be transformed through Christ. ...

An Advent Challenge: Love Your Enemies!
One of the most difficult aspects of being a Christian is dealing with people. Especially challenging is Jesusí command to love one another. Even more difficult is the Lordís command not just to love those who love us back, but to love those who annoy us and to love those who (gulp!) hate usÖour enemies!

General Articles
The History of the Advent Wreath
The symbolism of the Advent wreath is beautiful. The wreath is made of various evergreens, signifying continuous life. Even these evergreens have a traditional meaning which can be adapted to our faith: The laurel signifies victory over persecution and suffering; pine, holly, and yew, immortality; and cedar, strength and healing.

How to Celebrate Christmas without Debt and Stress
God intends for Christmas to be a time of rest, reflection, and joy as you celebrate His Son, Jesus, coming to Earth. Yet, too often, Christmas ends up being the most stressful time of year, filled with unrelenting pressure to spend more than you can afford and to do more than you have time for in your schedule. ...

Creative Christmas Gifts for Your Spouse
Neckties and flannel pajamas have their place, but maybe you're looking for something more creative for your spouse this year. What can you give your husband or wife that will communicate your love without breaking the bank? ...

Our Most Meaningful Christmas Gift
A few years ago we were asked, "What is the most memorable Christmas gift you've ever given or received?" Instantly our minds raced backwards over invisible tracks and skidded to a stop at the same intersection: Our first Christmas together as a couple. ...

Taming the Evil Yes Monster - Do Not Take Any More Than You Can Handle
Have you ever bitten off more than you could chew? Have you ever said, "Sure, I'll be glad to do that!" when you should have said, "I'm sorry, but I can't commit to that right now"? Has an over-loaded schedule ever added stress to you, your family, or your relationships? ...

Weekly Advent Reflections
Daily Reflections, and meditations

Advent Reflections for Week 1 (December 1-8)

Summary and Home Page for Week 1 of Advent

Advent Reflection for December 1

Advent Reflections for December 2

Advent Reflections for December 3

Advent Reflections for December 4

Advent Reflections for December 5

Advent Reflections for December 6

Advent Reflections for December 7

Advent Reflections for December 8

Advent Reflections for Week 2 (December 9-15)

Advent Reflections for December 9

Advent Reflections for December 10

Advent Reflections for December 11

Advent Reflections for December 12

Advent Reflections for December 13

Advent Reflections for December 14

Advent Reflections for December 15

Advent Reflections for Week 3 (December 16-22)

Advent Reflections for December 16

Advent Reflections for December 17

Advent Reflections for December 18

Advent Reflections for December 19

Advent Reflections for December 20

Advent Reflections for December 21

Advent Reflections for December 22

Advent Reflections for Week 4 (December 23-24)

Advent Reflections for December 23

Advent Reflections for December 24

Advent Message
Grandeur of God's Plan for our Salvation

We begin the Advent season by reflecting on the grandeur of God's plan for our salvation. The great hymn which begins Paul's Letter to the Ephesians praises the merciful love with which God "chose us in Christ, before the foundation of the world" (Eph 1:4) to become His adopted sons and daughters. God's plan is to unite all things in Christ, bringing all creation to fullness in Him (v. 10). He has made this plan known to us through an economy of revelation which culminates in the incarnation of the Son and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

God's self-revelation in Christ corresponds to our deepest human hopes and aspirations, and it invites us to respond by offering God the obedience of faith. As our free assent of mind and will to divine revelation, faith calls us to conversion and brings a new way of seeing the reality of our lives and the world around us. During this Advent, may we contemplate ever more fully the beauty of God's loving plan, and strive to be living signs of His saving presence in our world.

Pope Benedict XVI

See Also: God's Self-Revelation in Christ Corresponds to Our Deepest Human Hopes and Aspirations

Prayers, Hymns
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appears.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
Advent Hymn: Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence

The Best Advent Hymn

O Little Town of Bethlehem

Advent in Syriac Orthodox Church

Annunciation to Zacharia - Nov 18 - Read in Malankara World Journal Issue 108

Annunciation to St. Mary - Nov 25 - Read in Malankara World Journal Issue 110

Mary's visit to Elizabeth - Dec 2 - Read in Malankara World Journal Issue 111

Birth of John The Baptist - Dec 9 - Read in Malankara World Journal Issue 112

Revelation to Joseph - Dec 16 - Read in Malankara World Journal Issue 113

Genealogy of Jesus - Dec 23 - Read in Malankara World Journal Issue 114

Malankara World Christmas Supplement
Malankara World Christmas Supplement

Christmas Special - Malankara World Journal Issue 115

See Also:

Week 1 of Advent

Week 2 of Advent

Week 3 of Advent

Week 4 of Advent

Malankara World Christmas Supplement

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