Today is Advent Sunday, the beginning of the time of preparation and anticipation for Christmas that combines both looking at Christ’s coming in the past in time and space and also looking at his future coming when time and space as we know them shall be swept away.
Advent combines solemnity - or indeed spiritual sobriety ( the physical version is scarce these days in this season ) - with expectant joy. Often described as one of the Church’s hidden treasures it sometimes, depending upon the calendar, seems rushed and too short for proper preparation ( and all the more so in the flurry of modern shopping and suchlike )
The New Liturgical Movement recently had an interesting and carefully researched article by Gregory DiPippo about how Adent was originally longer in the West, as it still is in the East, being five rather than four weeks until the time of St Gregory the Great.
The article can be read at The Five Week Advent