Yesterday was the feast of St. Martin of Tours and it got me thinking. Had we lived in another century, this would have been the first day of Advent. It took a few centuries to get Christmas and Advent on the Church calendar, because the focus was on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When people became interested in history and genealogy, Christmas became a feast and along with it Advent. Priests wore white vestments in Advent; it was not a penitential period then. Rather it was a period of anticipation.
But down through history people began to think, “If Easter has a forty-day penitential period, then shouldn’t Christmas have the same?” Thus Advent became more penitential, and the priests began to wear violet, a penitential color. We are now back into a four-week preparation. Just as it’s never too early to begin Christmas shopping, it’s never too early to make Advent plans. How will you anticipate Christmas?