On December 2nd, the First Sunday of Advent, the church begins a new calendar year. The season of Advent marks a period of expectant waiting for the coming of Christ from three perspectives. First, it offers the opportunity to share in the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah. Second, we await and prepare for the coming celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. And, third, we await and prepare for the second coming of Christ (which you will notice is a theme in the Sunday readings during the weeks of Advent.) In this season, we incorporate new elements in our liturgy. You will notice that the color of the vestments and appointments has changed. Green has given way to blue, a symbol of the Advent Season, sometimes associated with Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Years ago, Advent appointments were purple, the color associated with royalty and the coming of the Holy One of God. To differentiate Advent from Lent, blue is used in the contemporary church. If you are using an Advent Wreath to mark the four Sundays of Advent, you may wonder why the candle for the 3rd Sunday is a different color (usually rose.) The 3rd Sunday of Lent is historically called Gaudete Sunday. The Latin word Gaudete translates to “rejoice” as in the familiar tune “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say
rejoice!” The readings in church for this day emphasize the joy we feel in anticipation of Christ’s coming.