143 Advent (starts the 4th Sunday before Christmas, Nov. 28, 2004)  041124; added: 041201

"Advent wreath" pix 

Advent starts the 4th Sunday before Christmas and ends on Christmas.  Advent is related to the birth of Jesus.  Advent originates from the meaning of arrival or coming in Latin, i.e. Lord is coming.  This time is used by many Christians as time to prepare for the birth of Jesus.  Some may do this with prayer, fasting ,or penitence. 

For more info on Advent, see these sites:
http://www.catholic.org/clife/advent/   >
http://www.catholic.org/clife/advent/index.php?id=5 >

The above short article on Advent was written based upon the story of  an American who is Catholic.  Another American, who is a Protestant, talks about Advent while recalling his childhood church tradition, as follows: 

What I know about Advent, from a Protestant perspective:

Advent is a Christian celebration anticipating the birth of Christ -- Christmas.  In the church I grew up in, a member of the church would light a candle and read a passage from the Bible that prophesied (predicted) the coming of Christ.  Each Sunday, another Scripture passage would be read and an additional candle would be lit.  "Advent wreath" pix

My current church does not do this ceremony, although we do celebrate Christmas.  I think this ceremony is still a popular tradition.

For fun:  this is just a wild guess about the origin (etymology?) of the word "advent."  I suspect that it comes from the Latin "ad venire" or similar, meaning something like:
the coming of...
toward the coming of...
the arrival of...


I'm going to check the online dictionary now...

Woo hoo!  I was very close -- it's from the Latin, advenire = to arrive.  Maybe I have learned a little Latin, even though I haven't studied any for months and months. 

Note: Some Americans know Latin.  We’re pretty sure that the knowledge of Latin helps you to understand English more.  I, a Japanese staff, think that the relationship between Latin and English is identical to that between Kanbun (Old Chinese) and Japanese. 

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