- The word Advent, from Latin, means “the coming.” For centuries, Advent has been a time of spiritual reflection as well as cheer and anticipation.
- Advent is the beginning of the church calendar year since the fourth century. Originally, it was a time when converts to Christianity readied themselves for baptism.
- Historically, the primary sanctuary color of Advent is Purple. This is the color of penitence and fasting as well as the color of royalty to welcome the Advent of the King.
- More recently some churches, including my own, use the Blue as the liturgical color. Why the switch? Advent is a season of preparation that anticipates both Bethlehem and the consummation of history in the second coming of Jesus Christ. Since this anticipation is characterized by hope — in contrast to the repentance characteristic of Lent — the color for the season should not be purple, with its mood of solemnity and somberness, but blue with its hopefulness.
- Advent wreaths have their origins in the folk traditions of northern Europe, where in the deep of winter people lit candles on wheel-shaped bundles of evergreen. Both the evergreen and the circular shape symbolized ongoing life.
- The Advent wreath has three purple candles and one pink candle. They represent the four weeks of our preparation before the coming of our Lord.
- An advent calendar is a card or poster with twenty-four small doors, one to be opened each day from December 1 until Christmas Eve. Each door conceals a picture. This popular tradition arose in Germany in the late 1800s and soon spread throughout Europe and North America
- The Great O Antiphons are seven brief evening prayers that are traditionally chanted during Advent worship from the 17th to the 23rd of December. The precise origin of these texts is unknown. However, by the 8th and 9th centuries, the church in Rome and monastic communities throughout western Europe were using them at evening worship services during the season of Advent. These ancient supplications beautifully express the Christian church’s profound yearning for her long expected Savior.
Pause in the midst of company, cleaning, cooking, shopping, and wrapping to remember why we celebrate Christmas. Advent is the time of waiting, of hope and expectation, and longing to once again hear the story of our Savior’s birth.
Celebrate the season of waiting!