COOLER days once more signal that we have entered the advent season.
Advent, from the Latin word “advenio” meaning “to come to” is the period beginning with the Sunday nearest to the feast of St. Andrew (Nov. 30) and embracing the four Sundays prior to Christmas. It is the beginning of the ecclesiastical year in the Western churches and the period set aside as one of the preparations for the anniversary of the Lord’s coming into the world.
How much do we know about advent? Filipinos’ take on the advent of Christmas is the “ber months” and that starts in September when we sing along to the Christmas melodies on radio.
Some of us have an early start in decorating our homes with holiday trimmings. Are we missing the real meaning of advent?
The church encourages us this advent to be more kind and compassionate and to remember the less-fortunate and underprivileged among us. Reminiscent of the humbling experience when Jesus was born in a stable after having been rejected accommodation, let us give shelter in our hearts for the typhoons’ survivors rendered homeless.
Under the new normal, I wonder how the traditional Misa de Gallo is going to be observed? (Nine days of sacrifice by waking up as early as 3:30 in the morning to attend the Misa de Gallo from Dec. 16 to 24.)
When did novenas originate? The practice is said to have originated with the apostles and disciples, along with the Virgin Mary, as they awaited the coming of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost) after the Ascension. Novenas are commonly made to God or to Him through Mary, the angels and the saints.
Prayers vary according to the novena. Roman Catholics have novenas masses for the dead, for our patron saints and the traditional Misa de Gallo or Simbang Gabi.
The tradition of midnight mass on Christmas eve was first chronicled by Egeria, a Galician woman who went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land around 381-384. She witnessed how the early Catholics of Jerusalem honored the Christmas mystery with a midnight vigil at Bethlehem. This was followed by a torchlight procession to Jerusalem, arriving at the Church of Resurrection at dawn.
“Simbang Gabi” was introduced in the United States as Filipinos attended the novena masses in nine different churches at seven in the evening. This is followed by a fellowship when Filipinos enjoy pancit.
Thanks to Wikipedia and to John Deedy for the “Catholic Fact Book,” which contained all the things I needed to know for this article.