December 1, First Sunday of Advent
Advent is the first season of the Church year. We prepare for the coming of Christ in three ways: The first part of Advent is a focus on the second coming of Jesus at the end of time to usher in the fullness of the Kingdom of God. This is the goal of all of history — to be with God forever. It constitutes the first part of Advent because as the goal of history, it shapes everything else in the calendar.
The next way prepare for the coming of Christ is by grace. He comes to us in the sacraments and in the whole life of the Church throughout the calendar in the feast days and seasons of the year.
The final part of Advent (beginning December 18th) is the preparation for the coming of Christ in nature at his birth. Christmas is an entire season of the Church year where we celebrate the beginning of grace in our world due to the birth of Jesus.
It is important to fully embrace Advent as a time of renewal, penance and deep longing for God. We are meant to wait for God, not leap ahead. It’s not Christmas yet.