Prepare ye the way of the Lord (Advent names)

I’ve had “Prepare ye the way of the Lord” in my head the last few days, which is such a lovely Adventy thing to have in my head now that Advent has begun, and what better way for a name blogger to celebrate Advent than by making a list of Advent names!

At least, that was my intention — and not just Advent names, but *new* names, not the same names everybody has written about forever and ever for babies born this time of year — but I had a hard time coming up with anything new! So many of the names that could qualify as Advent names are also legitimately Christmas names, and I’ve written about Christmas names a few times already (see the end of the post for a list), so I didn’t want to rehash or repackage the same names over again. (Also, even though I didn’t package it that way my Nameberry article from last year is explicitly Adventy, since it refers to titles of the coming Messiah as noted by Isaiah in the context of the O Antiphons — it’s all prophecy and anticipation about Christmas.)

That said, I just have to say that I think there are some Christmas names that just *are* Advent names, and no Advent list would be complete without them, like Mary, Joseph, Emmanuel (is O Come O Come Emmanuel not one of the most Adventy of songs?), Gabriel, John and Baptist, Elizabeth, Zechariah, and Belén (the Spanish for Bethlehem) or even Bethlehem itself, so if you’re looking for an Advent name, don’t ignore the lists of Christmas names.

I was able to come up with a few new ideas though, and this site was incredibly helpful, as it explained a bunch of things about Advent that I actually didn’t already know, like how the first Sunday of Advent is set (it’s not actually the Sunday after Thanksgiving, as I might have mindlessly thought for a long time … I mean, it *is* the Sunday after Thanksgiving, but that’s not how it’s set of course, since most of the world doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving but they do celebrate Advent), and also what each of the candles means and represents. Based on those things, as well as some of my own ideas, here are some Advent names that you may not find on any list of Christmas names:

Andrew: Currently, the first Sunday of Advent is set on the first Sunday near the feast of St. Andrew (Nov. 30). Did you already know that? I didn’t! How cool!

Catherine: This is definitely a little bit of a stretch, but St. Catherine of Siena was known to be so joyful as a child that she was nicknamed Euphrosyne, which is Greek for “joy,” and between the “Rejoice” of Gaudete Sunday (the third Sunday of Advent, when we light the third [pink] candle) and the fact that the third candle is called the Candle of Joy, a Joy name is quite appropriate for Advent (it’s already on lists of Christmas names). You could certainly use Euphrosyne, but I thought Catherine might be a bit easier!

Isaiah: This Old Testament prophet foretold the coming of the Messiah and shared all those amazing titles of the Messiah as remembered in the O Antiphons (see my Nameberry article for more on those).

Lydia: Lydia in the New Testament was a seller of purple cloth — this could be a subtle connection to the three purple candles of the Advent wreath.

Old Testament ancestors of Jesus: I wrote about Jesus’ genealogy here and here — using one of His ancestors’ names is a neat way of nodding to the centuries of preparation for the first Christmas.

Rose: Of course Rose always refers to Our Lady, but it can also refer to the pink candle on the Advent wreath, lit on the third Sunday of Advent aka Gaudete Sunday (Gaudete=Rejoice).

And jumping out of alphabetical order, maybe the craziest+coolest idea: Rorate Caeli/Coeli. As explained by the Catholic Encyclopedia at New Advent:

(Vulgate, text), the opening words of Isaiah 45:8. The text is used frequently both at Mass and in the Divine Office during Advent, as it gives exquisite poetical expression to the longings of Patriarchs and Prophets, and symbolically of the Church, for the coming of the Messias. Throughout Advent it occurs daily as the versicle and response at Vespers. For this purpose the verse is divided into the versicle, “Rorate coeli desuper et nubes pluant justum” (Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just), and the response: “Aperiatur terra et germinet salvatorem” (Let the earth be opened and send forth a Saviour”). The text is also used: (a) as the Introit for the Fourth Sunday in Advent, for Wednesday in Ember Week, for the feastof the Expectation of the Blessed Virgin, and for votive Masses of the Blessed Virgin during Advent; (b) as a versicle in the first responsory of Tuesday in the first week of Advent; (c) as the first antiphon at Lauds for the Tuesday preceding Christmas and the second antiphon at Matins of the Expectation of the Blessed Virgin; (d) in the second responsory for Friday of the third week of Advent and in the fifth responsory in Matins of the Expectation of the Blessed Virgin.”

The nickname Rory could totally make Rorate as a first name doable! What do you think? Crazy? Cool? Both?

In a fun twist, Haley from Carrots for Michaelmas tweeted me (tweeted to me?) yesterday asking about my Advent names post, which was so weird since I was thinking about this as-yet unwritten one! But then I listened to her and Christy’s latest Fountains of Carrots podcast and realized they had mentioned it there, and I think they were referring to that same O Antiphons Nameberry article I’ve referred to several times here.

This is another post and article I wrote about Christmas names, which also contain good Advent ideas:

Holy Family Names for Christmastime Babies (Catholic Mom)

Names for a Christmas baby

And this post is the most comprehensive I’ve ever come across, containing both familiar and surprising ideas (not written by me): Christmas Baby Names

What do you think of these Advent names? Would you consider them for an Advent baby, or are they too un-obvious for your taste? I’d love to know what unexpected/new names you can add to the list!

29 thoughts on “Prepare ye the way of the Lord (Advent names)

  1. The essence of Advent as a season of hope, expectation, preparation, waiting, anticipation strike me as ones from which names might be derived for the season.

    Hope: Hope, Esperanza, Itxaro (Basque), Nadya/Nadia, Nadine, Tikva

    Waiting, Anticipation: Patience

    Preparation, Expectation: Pana (Russian), Paraskeve/a (Romanian)

    Joachim (and all variants) – your favorite, Kate! – has the meaning of “raised by God” or “God prepares” and he is in the genealogy of Christ.

    Job (for the “patience of Job”) ; )

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    • Ahh you know me so well! Joachim is an awesome name for Advent, and I love all the Hope names as well. I’d tried to come up with names having to do with waiting/anticipation/preparation/expectation and couldn’t come up with any — I like your ideas!

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  2. Names meaning joy or having a connection to joy:

    The obvious – Joy, Joie, Joia, Joylyn, Joyce, Joyceline, Gioia

    Girl – Abigail, Beatrice, Gail, Hilary, Maeve, Mavis, Merri, Leticia, Simcha, Tamah, Thalia

    Boy – Fayne, Festus, Ranon

    Annabel(l)(e) – while we have talked about it as a variant coming from amabel (lovable) I also saw it listed as meaning “joy” in Gaelic. ???

    I included Leticia/Letitia as it means joy, but it is more closely related to the joy of Laetare Sunday in Lent than to Gaudete Sunday in Advent.

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      • Oh definitely, the only places whose meanings I trust are behindthename.com and dmnes.org, and to a lesser degree but still pretty good is babynamesofireland.com. None of those places have Annabel meaning joy, though I did a general search and found loads of other sites that do say it. One of them said it’s because of Annabel’s connection to Aine, which is often anglicized as Anne, though etymologically they’re not related, so I looked Aine up but none of the good sites say it means joy … so I’m not sure where that meaning came from! But if a parent chose Annabel because they truly believed it meant joy, that would be lovely, and very Adventy!

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  3. Haven’t read the whole post yet bust skipping down here to comment on the St. Andrew thing. I keep hearing this, that the first Sunday of Advent is determined by St. Andrew’s feast day, and it just seems silly to me! Obviously it’s determined by counting back 4 Sundays before Christmas! 😂

    That said, my very favorite Advent devotion does begin on St. Andrew’s feast day, what’s commonly called the “St. Andrew Christmas novena.” We made 15-bead chaplets to use several years ago, and the quiet recitation of this prayer is the most peaceful thing. My children, who bounce off the walls during the rosary, somehow settle into the quiet meditation of this prayer. I love that the prayer petitions God to hear our prayers in the very moment of Christ’s birth, certainly one of the two most singularly powerful moments in history. When we pray this, I almost feel the “whoosh” of being transported back to that moment in Bethlehem more than 2000 years ago. It’s very holy.
    “Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God, to hear my prayers and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ and His Blessed Mother. Amen.” Pray 15 times a day from St. Andrew’s Day until Christmas. Expect miracles…such as children who stop bouncing off the walls for 5 minutes to enter into a mystery.
    * * *
    Also, there is the possibility of an early Thanksgiving where the Sunday after Thanksgiving really won’t be the first Sunday of Advent. (Since Thanksgiving is the 4th Thursday, not the last Thursday.)

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  4. My #4 on earth was born the day before the first Sunday of Advent, and we named him Gabriel. He was conceived on the Feast of the Annunciation, which made it doubly appropriate!

    Incidentally, my #3 on earth was born on a Friday in Lent, and we named her Violet. Our priest came to visit us in the hospital, and complimented us on naming her after that day’s liturgical color. 😀

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