Transitioning to Advent

Matt DampierCliffNotes, Frontpage News

Dear Christ Church,

Last Sunday ended the Christian calendar with Christ the King Sunday. This Sunday our holy calendar resets as Advent begins. (If you want a helpful, 4 minute video on holy time, a church in our diocese put this video together.)

Advent crashes into our world, suddenly. There is a quick swing from the festivity of Thanksgiving to the starkness of advent—from feasting to fasting. Advent is traditionally a season of humility and preparation, a mini-Lent. And during this mini-Lent, take advantage of our Advent mini-retreat, a half-day chance to push pause on the end-of-year craziness and encounter the living God who came and will come again. See registration link below!

This Sunday you’ll notice changes in our worship. The colors have shifted from ordinary green to the more austere purple. We’ll begin singing the “Canticle of the Turning” about this Christ who turns the world upside down. And we begin lighting the Advent Candles each week.

What you won’t hear are Christmas carols. Anglicans practice the delay of singing carols together until Christmas Eve where, like the birth of Christ, the joy of the night crashes upon us out of the dark.

Fleming Rutledge sermonizes in her great devotional read, Advent, about this difference we’ll feel between our church and our culture this season.

“As we prepare to enter the Advent season, the Church hunkers down. The [Anglican] Church in America has been known for being really scrupulous about observing Advent; it’s one of the best things about us. We don’t decorate the church during Advent; we don’t sing carols; we don’t move to Christmas until the eve itself. Advent is a time for making a fearless inventory of the darkness. This is a call for character and courage.…At no time is there a greater contrast between what the church teaches and what is going on all around us.”

I love that line; hunker down. Take stock. And prepare for Christmas by observing Advent.

Grace. Peace.

Matt+