What is the Meaning of Advent?

Have you ever wondered why the church does not seem to be in the Christmas spirit until December 24th? Advent is a season observed by the church as a time of anticipation of the incarnation of the Christ. It is in this season that the Church calls its members into a time of preparation.

Each of the four Sundays of advent has a special understanding. The First Sunday is marked by Christ’s coming into final victory, the Second and Third Sundays are marked by John the Baptist proclaiming the sinfulness and need of a savior, and the Fourth  Sunday are the immediate events preceding the birth of Jesus.

Historically, the primary 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.  Purple is still used in some traditions. The purple of Advent is also the color of suffering used during Lent and Holy Week.  This points to an important connection between Jesus’ birth and death. The Incarnation, the God who was made Flesh, cannot be separated from the crucifixion. The full purpose of Christ coming to the world, to be born, live and teach was to die and also ressurect for what humanity has done. To reflect this emphasis, originally Advent was a time of penitence and fasting, much as the Season of Lent and so shared the color of Lent.

As we now enter this season of Advent, I pray that we may enter it fully experiencing the anticipation of the coming of the God who came down to Earth and lived and died like us for us.

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