Advent - are we missing the point?

Discussion in 'Feasts, Fasts, and Church Calendar' started by Botolph, Nov 23, 2016.

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  1. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    The Holy Season of Advent is all but upon us again. This week we are dusting off the purple sanctuary banners, altar falls, pulpit falls, and all the other bits we use. I hear talk of Advent being like a mini-lent and the trend to do special Advent studies, join Advent study groups, give up something for Advent, and I am not sure that we are not failing.

    Advent is not Lent.

    I believe that the Old Sarum colour for Advent was a Deep Ashen Indigo, reminiscent of the deep night sky of the northern winter, punctuated by the Rose, the promise of a new day, hinted in the sky before the new day comes and marked by the use of the the Rose colour of Gaudate (Rejoice) Sunday.

    Advent is a time of expectation, of looking, of hoping, of preparing, of getting ready, of inviting, and of excitement and celebration. Some time back the Queen (the orchestral rock band) sang a song with the lyric are you ready, are you ready for this, are you hanging on the edge of your seat?

    The antiphons for the last week of Advent are sometimes called the O Antiphons remind us very clearly of the sense of expectation and invitation. O Come, Oh Come Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel, is a hymn built on those antiphons.

    I hope that this season of Advent is a season that enriches and enlivens each one of us, looking for the day.

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  2. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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  3. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Very good thread. :thumbsup:

    I have heard Advent sometimes being called a mini-Lent which I see @Philip Barrington doesn't endorse above. Shall we categorize it as a penitential season or as something else?
     
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  4. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I think the sense of the fast before the big feast, but I think the theme is Anticipation more than Penitence, Preparation rather than Purging, looking to God more than looking inward, more of the Amazing God that he is, rather than the Amazing Clown that I am.

    OAntiphon1.jpg
     
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  5. Adrian63

    Adrian63 New Member

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    I think perhaps describing it is a 'penitential season' is inadequate as it's more one of hope and expectations. It has acquired some similarities with Lent over the centuries though. Although liturgical colours are only advisory most churches have adopted blue or purple as in Lent. I remember a time when it was less common but many Anglican churches and cathedrals now omit the Gloria at the Eucharist during both of those seasons, despite a lack of authority for so doing in the 1662 Prayer Book. Common Worship Order Two made the practice 'legal' though. On top of that, since 1662 the Prayer Book has required that seasonal collects be used during both Advent and Lent. A long standing custom exists of replacing the Te Deum at Mattins with the Benedictie during both seasons, although the 1549 Prayer Book only ordered its substitution during Lent, and that requirement was overturned in 1552 since when they've been offered as alternatives on any day of the year. It's not therefore difficult to see how parallels have arisen between the two very different seasons.
     
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  6. Moses

    Moses Member

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    In the Byzantine rite of the Orthodox Church, we call our Advent season "the Nativity fast" or occasionally "little Lent." It's also 40 days, but decidedly less strict than the fast of Great Lent.

    I'm actually impressed by what @Botolph observed. They way I see most people treating Advent, and the way I treated it growing up, is a long celebration of Christmas than ends on the morning of the Nativity. But Christmas is intended to be a 12-day feast, and I have found that the Advent fast a sense of anticipation, physically and spiritually preparing me for the 12-day feast ahead.

    I do agree that Advent and Lent should be treated differently. I like the idea of priests wearing blue during Advent to distinguish the two.
     
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  7. Fr. Brench

    Fr. Brench Active Member Anglican

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    The clergy don't need to wear blue to distinguish Advent from Lent any more than we need to where different colors to distinguish Christmas from Easter. #grumpyopinion ;)
     
  8. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I'm not picky about colors, with the exception that I would not want to see clergy wearing rainbow-colored stoles..... :rolleyes: