Advent is a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. The first major feast of Advent is that of the Entrance of the Theotokos (Mother of God) into the Temple at Jerusalem. The festal hymns proclaim this holy day as the “prelude” of God’s plan for salvation: the Incarnation.
According to tradition, the Virgin Mary at the age of three was taken by her parents, Saints Joachim and Anna, to the temple in Jerusalem to fulfill their promise to dedicate their daughter to God. In spite of her tender years, the Most-Holy Virgin easily ascended the temple stairs, where the High Priest Zachariah greeted and blessed her. She was led to the holy place as a foreshadowing that she herself was to become the “holy of holies” of God, the living sanctuary and temple of the Divine Child who was to be born in her. The Virgin Mary dwelt in the Temple for nine years until she was taken from the temple by the priests and elders to be betrothed to Saint Joseph as her guardian.
As honor today is shown to Mary, the faithful are called to look forward to the Incarnation of Christ, celebrated in a little more than a month on the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord.