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December 3, 2017: What Advent Means to Me

by Father Jadon

This Sunday we begin the season of Advent, a season that marks a new cycle of feasting and fasting as we make our way through the annual retelling of the earthly life, death, resurrection, and ascension of the one whom we follow as Savior and Lord. One good and venerable tradition is to mark Advent with the color purple, which, in this tradition, signals a season of repentance. Purple was also the most costly dye in ancient times (it came from sea urchins!) and was therefore used by kings to indicate their royal status. It is a fitting color for our Prince of Peace.

The tradition we observe here at All Souls is to clothe Advent in blue. In religious art and iconography the color blue has come to represent hope, expectation, and heaven. It is also the color associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary, whom we honor during Advent. Blue also reminds us of the clear, predawn sky. It is the color that blankets the earth in the hours before the sun rises in the east, the direction toward which worship has traditionally been oriented and from which came the news of a new savior’s birth. Thus we use the color blue for Advent to shade the season with a hint of expectation and anticipation of the dawning of Christ.

For me, on a personal level, Advent is a time to take stock of the year that has passed, look forward to the next, and reset. It is a season to make amends and to prepare for another year of trying. This year the first Sunday of Advent marks the one-year anniversary of my coming to All Souls, and I am prayerfully reflecting upon the accomplishments, missed opportunities, missteps, and unfinished business of the year that has passed . . . and planning for the year to come. It is my way of living into the ancient, new year-related spiritual practices of Christianity, Judaism, and many other religious traditions.

Advent is a time to recommit to our faith and to our God—no matter the color. Surely penitence (turning) is part of the traditional Advent observance, but we emphasize the church’s hope-filled and faithful watch for Christ. The blue of Advent is meant to inspire in us the hope of faith, and to encourage us to keep watch as the promised light of Christ to breaks over the horizon, changing night into day, darkness into light, and filling our lives and our world with a holy and righteous splendor. 

This Sunday we receive the gift of a new Advent chausible to match our existing blue stoles, given by Greg Lebel in loving memory of his mother.

Last Published: December 13, 2017 11:28 AM
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