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Jesus and the Jewish Roots of Advent

Story by Janet Glowaky

Have you ever felt that when Christmas comes around that you’re just not ready?

Of all the liturgical seasons, Advent is certainly the most stressful, and it may be the most confusing. Catholics seem to have a good grasp of Christmas, Lent and Easter. But what is the deeper meaning of Advent? And how can understanding this season help us better prepare for Christmas?

St. Andrew Adult Faith Education is following the DVD series, “Jesus and the Jewish Roots of Advent,” on Wednesday afternoons. The next meeting will be Nov. 16. The series runs for five Wednesdays ending Nov. 30, the first Wednesday of Advent. All are at 2 p.m. in Mary Arundel Hall.

The series was produced by Dr. Brant Pitre, who shows how a deeper understanding of the ancient Jewish prophecies of the Messiah can help unlock the hidden meanings of the season of Advent. In this close study of the Sunday readings from the Advent lectionary, you will learn about:

• The Second Advent at the End of Time: What will happen at the end of time? And why does Advent begin with end-time prophecies about the Tribulation, the Final Judgment, and the second coming of Christ?

• Jewish Prophecies of the Messiah: How do Catholics know that Jesus is truly the Messiah and not just one more religious leader? What are the most important Old Testament prophecies about the first coming of the Messiah?

• John the Baptist: Who was this mysterious figure? Why did Jesus call John the Baptist the greatest of prophets and why does the Catholic Church spend so much time on him during Advent?

• The Jesse Tree: What are the Jewish roots of the Advent custom of the Jesse tree? Where does this tree come from in the Jewish Bible?

• The City of Bethlehem: Ancient Jewish prophecy foretold that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Why? What is the Hebrew meaning of Jesus’ Nativity?

• The Virgin Birth: Why was Jesus born of a virgin? How did the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph react to the news? What should Catholics say to those who are skeptical about this great miracle? And what does it mean for our lives as Christians?

Also part of the series are Pitre’s extensive question and answer sessions.

If you’ve ever wanted to be more spiritually prepared to celebrate the birth of Christ, then “Jesus and the Jewish Roots of Advent” is the Bible study for you.