Advent???

I’m confused about what the purpose of advent is, and how I can “get in the spirit” of advent. I’ve been taught that advent is time of waiting and preparing spiritually for Christmas and the second coming of Jesus Christ. But shouldn’t we always be waiting and preparing for Christ’s second coming, no matter the season? And what does it mean, preparing for Christmas, spiritually? How is it different from taking care of souls, as best we can, throughout the year? I also read online that advent is a somber season of penance, and restrained Joy. Is this correct? And if so, what does it mean? I’m especially confused about the “restrained joy” part. Does that mean that if I feel very happy and excited about Christmas, I shouldn’t show it? That doesn’t sound right, but I don’t know what else it could mean.
I also know that I a lot of Catholics, myself included, are against decorating and going to Christmas parties, and radios playing Christmas music, so early, often before advent’s even begun. (In case that wasn’t clear, I mean that we are against those things being done so soon before Christmas, not against those things in general.) The Christian radio station I listen to all the time, is playing Christmas music today, and has been for the past couple days. I doubt I could find any local music station that isn’t playing Christmas music already unfortunately, and if I could, it would be secular, which I don’t want. Is it wrong to listen to Christmas music so early, when their is no local station playing other Christian music?

No, That’s fine insofar as Christmas music a bit early.

I can’t recall anything about “restrained joy”.

Yeah, correct, that we should be taking care of our souls all year, anyway.

Here is a link to an article at About.com regarding Advent. Actually, the entire Catholicism section at About.com is quite good.

catholicism.about.com/od/holydaysandholidays/p/Advent.htm

THe about article and the one it linked too were helpful. Thanks!

The “restrained joy” bit has been posited in recent decades by newfangled liturgy-types who dislike penance. They try to say that only Lent is a penitential season. They wanted to use blue for the liturgical color during Advent. When that failed, a lighter hue of violet was encouraged, to distinguish it from Lent. None of this has any foundation in Church liturgical norms. It is lesser than Lent, to be sure, but it is still penitential, rather than joyful.

Shouldn’t you love your parents every day? Then why do we need Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Sometimes, liturgical direction gives a nudge to spiritual direction…

That makes sense.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.