· from the Latin word for “coming,”
· describes the “coming” of our Lord Jesus Christ into the flesh.
· dating back to the first Christian centuries, the season was given over to reflection and penitence, repenting of sins and looking to Jesus as the promised Savior who alone could bring forgiveness and the promise of eternal salvation.
· the Frankish Church (the early medieval church of modern-day France and Germany) that the liturgical color for Advent was black,. weddings were forbidden and organ playing was
· With the passage of time, that pervasive sense of deep sorrow was moderated, and the color violet, or purple, became the standard liturgical color for the season.
o Although it kept a hue of reflection and penitence, violet and purple also reflected a sense of royalty and the kingly nature of Jesus.
· The color of Advent predominantly now is a royal blue,
o reflects the traditional theme of royalty, and is the color associated with hope,
§ capturing in its hue the expanse of the sky from which the Lord Jesus will return.
§ reflects heaven and the endlessness of the eternity promised to all who believe in Him and await His coming with joy and expectation.
Advent begins the church year
· because the church year begins where Jesus’ earthly life began–in the Old Testament prophecies of his incarnation.
· Advent begins on the Sunday closest to the Festival Day of Saint Andrew, Nov. 30.
o our four-week observance is considerably shorter than this special pre-Christmas season has been in times past.
o An early name for this starting time of the Church Year, dating back to France in A.D. 490, was the Latin Quadrigesima Sancti Martini, the Forty Days’ Fast of Saint Martin’s, which began on Nov. 11.
o Not until the 13th century did the four weeks of Advent, become established throughout the Western Church.
Christ’s coming manifests itself among us in three ways–past, present, and future.
· The readings which highlight Christ’s coming in the past focus on the Old Testament prophecies of his incarnation at Bethlehem.
· The readings which highlight Christ’s coming in the future focus on his “second coming” on the Last Day at the end of time.
· And the readings which highlight Christ’s coming in the present focus on his ministry among us through Word and Sacrament today.
The traditional use of Advent candles (sometimes held in a wreath)
· originated in eastern Germany even prior to the Reformation.
· involved three purple candles and one pink candle.
o The purple candles matched the purple paraments on the altar (purple for the royalty of the coming King).
o The pink candle was the third candle to be lit (not the fourth) on Gaudate Sunday, the Third Sunday of Advent. “Gaudate” means “Rejoice!” in Latin, and is the first word of the traditional Introit for that day (TLH, p. 54) which is taken from Philippians 4:4. (“Rejoice! . . . the Lord is near”). Hence a “pink” candle was used to signify “rejoicing.”
· Some also included a white “Christ candle” in the middle to be lit during the 12 days of Christmas (December 25-January 5).
· the light grows on the wreath as the time of the coming Jesus nears, despite the fact that the amount of daylight in the world outside (at least in the northern hemisphere) is steadily decreasing as Christ, the Morning Star who is the Light of the world, approaches.