The word Advent is derived from the Latin adventus, meaning, the coming.  During this season we remember the twofold Advent of Jesus Christ: he has come to this world as our Saviour and he will come again to be our Judge.  We therefore prepare ourselves to celebrate Our Lord’s first coming – his Birth – and to expect his second coming. (1)

This twofold Advent is evident in the hymns we sing during Advent and in the beautiful Collect for Advent Sunday:

“Almighty God,
give us grace to cast away the works of darkness
and to put on the armour of light,
now in the time of this mortal life,
in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;
that on the last day,
when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
     to judge the living and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever”. (2)

Advent is a season observed only in the Western Church.  It dates back to the fifth century and originally there were six Sundays in Advent.  These were reduced first to five and then to the four Sundays before Christmas Day. (3) Advent Sunday marks the beginning of the Church’s Year.

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