3 Signs That Your Church Is Ready for Christmastime
The commercial holiday season may come earlier with each new year, but the liturgical calendar gives advent a distinct starting point: the fourth Sunday before Christmas. More often than not, though, you don’t need to note the date before realizing that Christmas is a-comin’. With just one mass amidst advent, you’ll know there will be no denying that the holidays are upon us, with the celebration of Jesus’ birth on the horizon. Best of all? You won’t need to wait for the high-holiday masses to prepare yourself to celebrate Christmas Eve.
1. Holiday Decor
Has the nativity made its appearance at your apse? Chances are, Christmas is on its way. Is the altar bedecked in poinsettias? The holidays are undoubtedly coming. From Christmas lights outdoor and into an angel tree within the nave, holiday decorations are indeed a sign that festive days will soon arrive. Unlike the Christmas lights, you’ll find at the nearest shopping center, the decor at your church will inevitably beckon to believers with each bulb and wreath.
If you’re looking to bring some holiday cheer to your church, consider how you can embrace a winter wonderland while staying true to the coming of Christ. The glow of holiday lights can enhance the nativity, and a Christmas tree can be repurposed to give back to the needy. Each church will have a unique take on its Yuletide faith, but one fact will remain through each: there will be no denying that the holiday season is incoming.
2. Festive Vestments
Maybe your church doesn’t utilize holiday decor, or the commercialized version of these same decorations elsewhere has you looking for further evidence. In this case, you don’t need to look any further than the clergy. When your parish’s priest searches for clergy robes for men, he’ll consider the liturgical colors already in place, outlined in the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani.
Year-round, a variety of colors represent each portion of the liturgical calendar. Throughout advent, you’ll typically see clergy robes in shades of violet or purple. Has the priest for your parish switched to white or gold? There’s truly no denying that the Christmas season is upon us.
3. Candle Crown
With Christ’s arrival fast approaching, there’s one more indicator you can depend on to point out the holiday season—the appearance and progress of an advent wreath. You’ve likely seen the wreath or advent crown in previous years, each symbolizing the seasonal cycles of life and the eternal love of Jesus Christ.
The wreath itself will be adorned with candles, marking each week of the advent season (or every individual day in some less common cases). A family—or, in the church’s case, the parish—is meant to light the candles as a reflection of peace and faith. Lighting their candle in mass, the church family will prepare for Christmas and the celebrations that will soon come with it.
From as early as the summer months, you can find Christmas decorations on store shelves in some places. However, this doesn’t mean that the holiday season will come any earlier. For the most accurate indicators of advent, you must turn to the church. Your parish might sparkle with the glimmer of holiday lights, with LEDs adorning the manger or an angel tree. You might watch the priest take his place at the altar, wrapped in violet vestments, and know that the Christmastide white and gold clergy wear will soon enough appear. Or, you might turn to a smaller light display, watching the advent crown or wreath gain a new flame each week, marking the ever-approaching celebration of the coming of Christ. In any case, you’ll know one fact is certain: Christmas is undoubtedly on its way.
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