Say “December” and images of Christmas automatically come to mind. But the last month of the year is also the time of other significant events leading up to the grand celebration of Baby Jesus’ birth in a humble manger.
Mark your calendars for these important dates!
Sunday, December 1: Advent
From the Latin word adventus (meaning “coming”), Advent signals the start of the season leading up to the nativity of the Baby Jesus and His eventual Second Coming.
The date varies from year to year; this year, Advent starts on Sunday, December 1 and ends on Tuesday, December 24. In the days leading up to Christmas Eve, the faithful light up the candles of the Advent Wreath––a symbol of eternal life and God’s unceasing love for us. A crown of fir decked with red ribbons, pine cones, and other holidays trimmings, the Advent Wreath has five candles––the first four representing the four weeks leading up to the end of Advent, the fifth (known as the Christ Candle) lit on Christmas Day.
Catholics also reflect on themes assigned to each of the four weeks leading up to Christmas. Hope or Promise is the theme of Week 1, Preparation is for Week 2, Joy and Peace are the themes of Week 3, and Love is the theme of Week 4.
What an uplifting way to prepare ourselves for a day of sharing and rejoicing!
Sunday, December 8: Feast of the Immaculate Concepcion
Recognized as an official non-working holiday in the Philippines, the Feast of the Immaculate Concepcion is a holy day of obligation. The faithful are reminded to attend mass and remember Mama Mary on this day. The fixed date is nine months to Mary’s nativity, which is celebrated on September 8.
Read About:Check out these My Pope-recommended films for the holidays!
Wednesday, December 25: Nativity of our Lord
Also known as Christmas, this highly anticipated day of the year is all about giving and receiving—of gifts, love, family and friends.
Make this Christmas more meaningful than the last! Share your blessings with people who are not necessarily on your list—the security guards in your building or subdivision, the jeepney driver in your usual route, your friendly barista or hardworking supermarket bag boy, and the like. Smile and greet random people a Merry Christmas. Rekindle old ties with a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in ages. Remember, it’s not the size or cost of the gift that matters; it’s your intention and sincerity that count.
Bonus! December is also filled with feast days of saints. Check them out in this Catholic Calendar.