THE SEASON OF ADVENT
This year, the season of Advent begins on December 3.
Advent consists of the four weeks before Christmas. The name of this first season of the liturgical year comes from a Latin word that means “coming”. Advent focuses on this “coming” in three ways: the Christ coming in the present in word and sacraments and in the fellowship or communion of the church, and Christ coming again in the future at the end of time. In advent we prepare for the celebration of Christ’s coming in the incarnation, but more importantly we prepare for his second coming, when he will make all things new and judge the world in righteousness.
The preferred color for Advent is blue, the color of hope. Blue helps make apparent the major thematic differences between Advent and Lent. The blue used for Advent is royal blue, not pale or navy blue. One of the themes of Advent is darkness, and it is thus appropriate to use fewer candles during these four weeks.
The Advent wreath, which originated in home use in Europe after the Reformation, is a wreath on which four candles are placed, representing the four weeks of waiting. It may be suspended from the chancel ceiling or placed ion a stand, usually near the left side of the altar. The candles are blue. The Advent wreath is used only for the four weeks in Advent, and is removed prior to the Christmas festival celebration.