The Philippines has the longest celebration of Christmas. When the –ber months roll in, the breeze brings us a nostalgic feeling of the beloved holiday, and decorations start to go up. The music that we start to listen to includes Jose Mari Chan’s famous Christmas songs. We are also looking forward to parties and reunions and exchanging gifts. But, there is a season preceding Christmas when we prepare for it. How important is the season of Advent?
The Importance of the Advent Season
In the contemporary world, do we still remember what Christmas is all about?
Technically, the Christmas season starts on the 25th of December. In the Catholic tradition, Christmas’ precedent is the season of Advent. The word advent comes from the Latin word adventus meaning coming or arrival. It is the preparation for the birth of Christ as it reflects the present situation as we await the second coming.
As we wait, it is important that we ready our hearts and ourselves. In the four weeks of preparation, we ready ourselves in hope, love, joy, and peace of what is coming: the birth of our Savior. These are the common themes of Advent. The candles in the advent wreath represent these common themes and are lit each week.
The colors of the candles also have meaning. The three violet ones (which correspond to hope, love, and peace) symbolize that the season is a time of prayer, penance, and sacrifice. The rose pink one symbolizes joy, that as we await in prayer, we should be glad for God gave His Son to be among us.
The greatest story ever told
In the season of Advent, we also take part in the journey of Mary and Joseph. The Nativity narrative tells us that in those times, Emperor Augustus decreed a census to take place in the Roman territories. And each family should go home on their own time to register. Joseph, being a descendant of David, goes back to Bethlehem.
So he, together with Mary, traveled 150.6km. At the same time, Mary is pregnant and was caught in labor. Tradition in the Philippines depicts this in a Christmas play called panunuluyan wherein they are looking for a place to stay for the night but failed.
Instead, they found a stable where Mary births her Son. The journey wasn’t easy. To think that Mary and Joseph’s Son is the Savior of the world, undergone hardships, we too will undergo trials. But God doesn’t forget His people. And He always guides us.
Kenneth currently studies Broadcasting in the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. He has always been drawn to writing and communicating ideas about what he observes. In his spare time, he is fascinated by books, television series, and movies, such as marvelous superheroes.