Advent is a season of spiritual preparation for the celebration of the birth of Christ
(Christmas) and looks forward to the future reign of Christ. Anticipation
of the action of God in the world, rather than personal penitence is the central theme
of the season. Advent is a preparation for rather than a celebration of Christmas,
so Advent hymns should be sung instead of Christmas carols (we'll still
sing a few carols
before Christmas.) The first Sunday of Advent is not the beginning of the
The Christmas celebration begins on Christmas Eve and continues for
the next "twelve days
Purple is normally Advent's liturgical color, associated both with the sovereignty of Christ
and with penitence. Deep Blue is also sometimes used to distinguish the season from Lent.
As the color of the night sky, Blue symbolizes Christ who in one ancient Advent song is
called the "Dayspring" or source of day. As the color associated with Mary, Blue also reminds
us that during Advent the church waits with Mary for the birth of Jesus.
The Lectionary readings for Christmas and the following twelve days (culminating in the
feast of the Epiphany) invite the church to reflect on the Incarnation (or embodiment)
of God as a human being: "The Word became a human being and lived among us, and
we have seen his glory...." (John 1:14). In Christ, God enters human history and
identifies fully with the human condition.
"To Be Where You Are" a Mitford Novel by Jan Karon