This greeting isn’t a month early. For the liturgical (church) calendar, Advent is the beginning of the year. And since Advent begins on December 2 this year, Happy New Year!
The word ‘advent’ means ‘arrival’ and is typically used in English to refer to the arrival of an important person, thing, or event. In the liturgical calendar, Advent is a whole season that start four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve.
During Advent, we prepare for, and anticipate, the coming of Christ. For many, this means preparing for the celebration of Christmas, the celebration of the birth (coming) of Christ. For many others, this means preparing our hearts for Jesus to be born again within us so that all Jesus promised in his first coming can be fulfilled in us. For Christians who believe that Christ will come again in some dramatic, apocalyptic event, Advent is a time of preparing for that arrival.
Typically, each week has a theme – hope, peace, love, and joy (in some order or other). The color for Advent is traditionally purple, though some churches use royal blue. This year, we will be using purple during Advent. There will also be a new liturgical art installation.
There are also a few changes to the order of worship to help mark the season. The most noticeable change is how worship begins – with the lighting of an Advent candle in the Advent wreath on the communion table.