Advent is a season of waiting and expectation for Christmas – the birth of Christ, the Nativity of Our Lord. We prepare our homes and hearts for four weeks before Christmas. Advent is also the beginning of a new liturgical year – it concludes the long season of Trinity and leads us into the new church year with hope and patience in preparation for Christmas.
This season was likely first celebrated in the fifth century, originating from the tradition of fasting several times a week, beginning on St. Martin de Tours’ Feast Day (November 11) and concluding on Christmas Day.
In modern times, Advent begins on the Sunday closest to November 30 (the Feast Day of St. Andrew) and concludes on Christmas Eve. This year, Advent begins on December 3.
The Advent Wreath
The use of the wreath and candles during Advent is a longstanding Anglican tradition that was originally adopted by Christians in the Middle Ages as part of their spiritual preparation for Christmas. The practice of lighting the candles each evening can be a helpful spiritual practice. This Liturgy for Lighting The Advent Wreath comes to us from the Province of Christ the King.
St. Bartholomew’s uses blue vestments and altar paraments during Advent. This is a recovery of an ancient English tradition stemming from Salisbury Cathedral, and so it is referred to as sarum blue. (Sarum being the ancient Latin name for Salisbury.) While the deep blue
conveys a feeling of solemnity, because of its association with the Blessed Virgin Mary, it also conveys the Advent themes of hope and expectation.