Sunday, November 28, 2010

1st Sunday of Advent.

Rest on the Flight into Egypt
Caravaggio / 1595
Galleria Doria Pamphilj, Rome

Advent is the beginning of the Christian calendar for the Western Church. It starts four Sundays before Christmas Day, so the first Sunday of Advent is not a fixed date. The word Advent is from the Latin adventus and means coming and commemorates the coming of the Messiah and the parousia or the Second Coming of the Messiah.

In the United States it is common to refer to the "Christmas season" as the time between Thanksgiving and the New Year, but the Advent season and the Christmas season are distinct in the Church and have distinct liturgies, hymns, and rubrics. The traditional hymns of the Advent season testify to the expected coming of the Christ child, and the Christmas season, of his joyful arrival.
"The scene, in the early Caravaggio painting, is based not on any incident in the Bible itself, but on a body of tales or legends that had grown up in the early Middle Ages around the Bible story of the Holy Family fleeing into Egypt for refuge on being warned that Herod the Great was seeking to kill the Christ Child. According to the legend, Joseph and Mary stopped on the flight in a grove of trees." Wikipedia.

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