Discover more from Poiema
A Dummies Guide to Advent
Ad· vent | \ ˈad-ˌvent
Middle English, borrowed from Medieval Latin adventus, going back to Latin, “arrival, appearance,” from adven-, variant stem of advenīre “to arrive”
Definitions of Advent
1. Advent marks the beginning of a new liturgical year, starting four Sundays before Christmas; it is so named because it is a time which commemorates the Incarnation and Christ’s Holy Nativity; it is also a season of waiting in hope for the coming of Christ in his final glory at which time he will raise the dead, judge the world in righteousness, and own the scoffers with history’s biggest “I-told-ya-so.”
a. In most liturgical traditions, Advent is “observed” rather than “celebrated.” It is viewed as a quasi-penitential season. Appropriate times of fasting, prayer, and self-subjugation to Hallmark Channel Holiday Specials are acceptable forms of penance and devotion. Ugly sweaters are marks of piety; the modern equivalent of sackcloth.
b. Purple and Blue are the traditional colors of this liturgical season. Some insist on purple. According to the earliest records, such persons were called fusspots, from the Old English, styks up thar ahrses. Blue is the color of moderates; the color not being as deep, it represents a lighter wound to the body of flesh since it denotes a lighter form of fasting than that of Lent. Mostly it means only having a single shot of whiskey in one’s eggnog.
c. Advent is a time when low-church Evangelicals are routinely harassed for the sake of the One, Holy, Catholick, and Apostolic Faith. Their carols are silenced, their holiday cheer is treated like the pagan hell that it is, and their lighted trees are sometimes captured and held hostage until 11:30 P.M. on Christmas Eve. This is all especially hard on the Baptists, who have “Hanging of the Greens” and multiple viewings of Elf and Ernest Saves Christmas as their only annual forays into liturgy.
d. Advent is customarily observed by singing the two or three Advent hymns we actually know: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel; Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus; and whatever that other one is. One forgets…
e. Advent is observed by all of those who truly love Jesus, spanning the doctrinal divides of Christendom: Roman Catholics, Orthodox, Lutherans, Anglicans, Retailers.
f. Some people make wreaths and light candles. I do not make wreaths. But some people do make wreaths, ok. I just do the candles and the solemnity.