Medieval Monday: Advent–the days before Christmas

Allison D. Reid

advent3Christmas was an important event for Christians in medieval Europe. Not just celebrated around December 25th, it began with the advent season at the end of November and continued through Epiphany on January 6th. Advent (the 40 days before Christmas) was a time of preparation, of waiting for God’s arrival—both historically as the Christ Child, and also in the future end times spoken of in the book of Revelation. Fasting and holy reflection preceded the greater merriment and feasting that took place during the 12 days of Christmas. The fasting was not as stringent as that which would come before Easter during Lent, and it was broken up by smaller feasting days in between, such as for St. Nicholas day on December 6th.  Taking time for prayer, confession, and repentance was also an important part of Advent, when one was supposed to experience a…

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