Advent is important to us here at Notre Dame, so our Chaplaincy decided to find out exactly what our students feel about it. We set them the challenge of writing 50 words on the topic, ‘What Advent means to me’ and received a huge variety of responses, which provided beautiful insights into the way different people see these four weeks before Christmas.
Advent is a time of joyful preparation for Christians, who look forward to celebrating the Nativity, and to the second coming of Jesus. Advent colours are not red or green or gold but pink and purple, as shown by the candles which Christians light on the four Sundays leading up to December 25. For our students, Advent is about community; family, friends and neighbours. It’s about compassion, but also an exciting time.
These are the three 'What Advent means to me' entries that were judged to be the best, but there were so many excellent responses that the Chaplaincy was keen to publish another seven, which you can read below. The three winners each received a Stella Maris commendation and certificate for love of learning, as well as a gift voucher. They are pictured above accepting their certificates from our principal Mrs. Justine Barlow.
1) Amaris Hargreaves
“Advent is not just about the chocolate in the morning. It’s not just about the snow falling. It’s not about finding the perfect tree or watching an old Christmas DVD. Rather it is about preparing for the coming of Christ, awaiting the day that the Lord our God was born in the hay.”
2) Daisy Richardson
“Advent is a time of generosity. As winter approaches, it is important to consider the community and how we can help those in need throughout the festive season. This year in particular, many people have suffered, and one of the most important values is supporting those who may be struggling through this time of joy.”
3) Carmen Gomez Puentes
“For me, Advent is a period of joyous preparation. First of all, to our celebration of Christ's birth at Christmas; second, to the coming of Christ in our lives through grace and the Sacrament of Holy Communion; and finally, to his second coming (parusia) at the end of time.”
If you’d like to know a little more about Advent, please watch this two-minute video.
These are some of the other entries that the Chaplaincy particularly enjoyed.
“Advent to me is a really important time. It means feeling Jesus’s love within our homes and our hearts, and sharing his love within us all. For advent we do the advent calendar as days towards the birth of Jesus, and it’s so important to me because I feel like it counts down to a new beginning.”
“Advent means 'coming' in Latin. This is the coming of Jesus into the world. Christians use the four Sundays and weeks of Advent to prepare and remember the real meaning of Christmas. Advent is a celebration of Christmas. During advent Christians are encouraged to be thankful for what they have and show love and kindness to the neighbours and family.”
“Advent is a time of giving and receiving gifts from your loved ones. I love how I can celebrate this holiday with family and friends, share a meal and come together. The whole countdown to Christmas is my favourite time of the year as there’s such a positive vibe with the Christmas trees, decorations and food.”
“To me, the word ‘Advent’ means to celebrate something. It could be anything, it doesn’t necessarily have to be related to Christmas, it could be related to any other big holiday like Easter or birthdays. But it could be related to smaller celebrations like an achievement. Advent also means, an exciting build up to an amazing thing, like an achievement. The excitement of building something up to be great is incredibly exciting and the word ‘Advent’ can indicate that space of time.”
“Advent means when there is something special about the person you admire. For example, family, friends or celebrities. There can be deep meaning of the object that people carry or use. For example, the object of religion or the techniques of producing something. This shows that advent is meaningful.”
“Advent is very important for me. Mostly because I am Christian but also because it is a time where everyone feels worthy and accepted, a time where everyone just gets together.”
“Advent is warm and filled with family closeness. It’s a mad rush to buy presents, showing how thankful we are for the amazing people in our lives, feeling the excitement on the run up to Christmas, especially seeing the last candle being lit. It’s the feeling of home when walking through a shop playing Christmas songs, even in an unfamiliar place.”