It is good to keep in mind that every Catholic liturgy celebrates what God has done for the world in Jesus Christ. Different seasons of the year emphasize different aspects on this one mystery of God-in-Christ: Suffering, death, Resurrection of Christ; incarnation, birth, Motherhood of Mary; baptism, ministry, teaching of Jesus; the giving of the Spirit, the growth of Christ in His Church, evangelizing the world. All are aspects or movements within the same mystery of Christ, of God-in-man-for-us (Emmanuel). As preparation for “the End,” as well as for Christmas, Advent fits into this single-mystery reality being celebrated by the Church.
There is, however, a surplus of meaning to Advent, so the season indeed transcends the distinctly Christian revelation of God-in-man, Christ, and moves the faithful towards openness to the whole divine mystery. In truth, each Christian celebration is grounded on the ultimate mystery of God. But Advent especially moves the faithful into darkness: an awareness that no one truly knows God but God, and that the One we await is far beyond our grasp and understanding. Indeed, all of reality--all of the Cosmos and history--are grounded in this one divine Mystery. And it is the everpresent background truth of Advent to keep the reality of divine Mystery before the hearts and minds of the faithful. Hence, properly understood, Advent should remind us of our common humanity under God, and increase our sense of solidarity with all human beings who await ultimate fulfillment, not in themselves, but in the Mystery we call “God.” Something of what this means will be explored in our Advent liturgies.