The Holy Season of Advent is upon us again. Dusting off the purple sanctuary banners, altar falls, pulpit falls, and all the other bits we use. I hear talk of Advent being like a mini-lent and the trend to do special Advent studies, join Advent study groups, give up something for Advent, and I am not sure that we are not failing.
Advent is not Lent.
I believe that the Old Sarum colour for Advent was a Deep Ashen Indigo, reminiscent of the deep night sky of the northern winter, punctuated by the Rose, the promise of a new day, hinted in the sky before the new day comes and marked by the use of the Rose colour of Gaudate (Rejoice) Sunday.
Advent is a time of expectation, of looking, of hoping, of preparing, of getting ready, of inviting, and of excitement and celebration. Some time back the Queen (the orchestral rock band) sang a song with the lyric are you ready, are you ready for this, are you hanging on the edge of your seat?
The antiphons for the last week of Advent are sometimes called the O Antiphons remind us very clearly of the sense of expectation and invitation. O Come, Oh Come Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel, is a hymn built on those antiphons.
I hope that this season of Advent is a season that enriches and enlivens each one of us, looking for the day.