Sunday, December 4, 2011
Advent is the first season in the church liturgical year. It begins on the fourth Sunday before December 25 each year. Advent is a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the Nativity of Jesus on Christmas.
Historically, the primary sanctuary color for Advent has been purple. There has been an increasing trend to supplant the color purple with blue as the primary color for Advent in the past several years. Blue is a color associated with hopefulness and promise. Advent, symbolized by the color blue, becomes a season of hopeful preparation for Bethlehem and the consummation of history in God’s rule on earth.
Advent scripture and music focus on God’s coming into the world in the past, our own preparations for God’s presence in our lives now, and our hopes for the presence of God in our world in the future. We combine our past, present, and future during Advent as we celebrate Emmanuel (God-with-us).
The season of Advent ends on Christmas when we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Only then do we turn our thoughts to the stories of Jesus’ birth, the star, the shepherds, and rejoicing. Only when we have fully prepared through Advent can we sing the songs of Christmas and proclaim that God has come to us and remains with us now and always.
Prepare for God. Be ready for God. Don’t rush to the end! Don’t hurry by! Watch, look, hope, and know that in the preparing, the ready, the unhurried pace to grace, God can be seen and found. Mark Advent well so that Christmas Joy will be a real experience and not merely a nice feeling.
Peace and Good Cheer,