Advent is the Latin transcription “Adventus” which refers to the act of arrival, to the fact of having arrived; the poets of Rome spoke of the “arrival of the day”.
What the Church celebrates is the advent of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The very title of this time of preparation which could designate the feast of Christmas itself shows enough the relationship it holds with the celebration and the time of the nativity. The liturgical cycle concluded with the memory of Christ the King; it begins with a meditation on the second coming, the parousia, which will mark the end of times (first Sunday) and leads to the feast of the coming of Christ in the flesh (Christmas).
In fact, the idea of preparation for the coming of Christ gives a particular similarity to this time of the year with the whole period that prepares for the coming of Christ, as the Old Testament brushes us so well: “For more than four thousand years we have said to the holy prophets”, sang the old hymn.
During the Advent period, we will re-read the prophetic passages of the Bible that are related to the coming of the Messiah, in particular those of Isaiah, Micah, Malachi. Another characteristic of Advent will be that of evoking the immediate preparation no longer for the birth itself, but for the manifestation of Christ in his public ministry; therefore, Advent will grant a share of the lion to those who prepare the way or, better said, to those who prepare the dawn of the new times, St. John the Baptist.
In our country, the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), as everywhere in the universal Church, this expectation is made with Our Lady (the Mater Ecclesiae), who “brought whoever brings everything, who brings us the Light extinguished by the sin of Eve” as the Fathers of the Church tell us.
Yes, brothers and sisters, the Holy Virgin Mary had the privilege and the joy of carrying the Child-God in her womb. Like all mothers, she lived in close communion with him in faith in the words of the Angel Gabriel “blessed is she who believed “. Therefore, before Christmas, we will remember the virginal conception, the Visitation, the wonder of Elizabeth, and the pneumatic song of Mary’s thanksgiving: the Magnificat. With it, the expectation is both collected and joyful.
From December 17 begins a wait of eight days, more intense. It’s a direct preparation with joy and desire for the coming of Christ and his entering into everyone’s life.
Finally, the Advent liturgy has a certain penance, marked by the liturgical color, purple, but the joyful expectation dominates “O come, Lord Jesus, Maranatha”.
Don Giscard Steve MAYALA MAMPASSI, a priest from the Pointe-Noire’s Archdiocese, Congo. Fr. Giscard is studying the Science of communication at the Pontifical University Gregoriana, in Rome.