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It remains as a period of preparation for the penitential season of Lent, and an important part of our Catholic Heritage.Though it would take centuries for the Church to adopt a systematic division of the Church Year, there still remain differences in the Church between the Eastern and Western branches, yet undivided in Faith once delivered. With the adoption of Advent in the sixth century, the intent of the Western Church was not a second Lenten Season, but a period of liturgical preparation for Christmas. Preaching, Teaching, Worshipping: A Balancing Act With the First Sunday in Advent, we begin a new Christian Year, not as we do our secular year on New Year's Eve; rather, we begin the new Christian Year in a more solemn fashion, similar to Lent.
Is it "Mass", "Eucharist", "Holy Communion", or what? In the fourth century, the Western Church adopted Christmas Day as the beginning of the Christian Year; however, four centuries later, Advent had replaced Christmas as the beginning of the Christian Year, with the focus on the preparation not only for the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, but also on the Second Coming at the end of time. Fearful not only of being judged for what we have done, but also for what we have failed to do. Indeed, we do have second thoughts when it comes to being judged for how we have conducted our lives in this world. We were at the Savoy Chapel this morning (our middle son sings in the choir), where they sang the Prayer Book version, in which these lines are rendered by Miles Coverdale as follows: Sing praises unto the Lord, O ye saints of his : and give thanks unto him for a remembrance of his holiness.
Above all, this precision of language creates a strong sense of connection with the translator: a translator who uses the word “heaviness” here is someone who is intimately familiar with this state of mind and body.There was at the same time in the Eastern Church a tradition that observed an eight-week, rather than a six-week Lenten fast.