Advent Ends and Christmas Begins
Advent is technically not part of the Christmas season yet it is in preparation of the season. It is appropriately the start of the liturgical year because it looks forward to Christ’s birth and incarnation. During Mass, the hymns are reserved and somber and no Christmas hymns or Christmas readings are used until the Vigil Mass on December 24th, the first day of the Christmas season.
During the four weeks of Advent, the liturgical colors are violent and rose. The season is penitential and somewhat solemn, quiet and less festive then during other times of the year. On Christmas Eve, the colors in the church change to reflect the joyful coming of Our Savior! Gone will be the purple and rose candles and vestments.
During Christmas, the church is filled with evergreen wreaths and trees, bright red bows, white or gold vestments are worn by the priests and deacons, and white and red poinsettias adorn the altar.
The hymns change from somber Advent hymns to triumphant and glorious songs. What a wonderful celebration of God’s gift of Christ the Savior to all of us!
Don’t forget that Christmas in the Catholic Church is not just one day. The celebration of Christmas begins with the Vigil Mass on December 24th as we commemorate the birth of Christ, and it continues until the feast of the Baptism of Our Lord. Enjoy the Christmas Season!