Advent Liturgies

With Advent here for next four Sundays, I want to call attention to changes that we may observe in the liturgies.  Advent has a twofold character: it is a time of preparation for the Solemnities of Christmas, in which the First Coming of the Son of God to humanity is remembered, and likewise a time when our minds and hearts are led to look forward to Christ’s Second Coming at the end of time. For these two reasons, Advent is a period of devotion and expectation.

The liturgical color for Advent is violet, just as it is in Lent. Both seasons prepare us for great feast days. And like Lent, Advent is meant to include an element of penance in the sense of preparing, quieting and disciplining our hearts for the full joy of Christmas. “During Advent the floral decoration of the altar should be marked by a moderation suited to the character of this time of year, without expressing in anticipation the full joy of the Nativity of the Lord and the use of the organ and other musical instruments should be marked by a [similar] moderation…” (General Instruction to the Roman Missal n. 305 and n. 313)

In keeping with liturgical tradition and Church guidelines, Advent liturgies are more restrained, and briefer.  The Gloria is omitted, there is less sung music.

On Christmas Day, we will joyfully celebrate the “fullness” of the sign of Communion as we turn from the “austerity” of Advent to the glory of the Nativity of Our Lord!