The Advent Season
Advent is a season of expectation and preparation, as we prepare to celebrate the coming (adventus) of Christ in his incarnation, and also look ahead to his final advent as judge at the end of time. Although rather unfashionable today, the ‘Four Last Things’ – Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell – have been traditional themes for Advent meditation. The characteristic note of Advent is however expectation, rather than penitence.
The anticipation of Christmas under commercial pressure has also made it harder to sustain the appropriate sense of alert watchfulness, but the fundamental Advent prayer remains ‘Our Lord, come’ (1 Corinthians 16.22). Church decorations are simple and spare, and purple is the traditional liturgical colour. In the northern hemisphere, the Advent season falls at the darkest time of the year, and the natural symbols of darkness and light are powerfully at work throughout Advent and Christmas.
The Moravian custom of the Christingle has similarly enjoyed great success in Britain since the latter part of the twentieth century, with the encouragement of the Children’s Society; our Christingle service takes place on 10th December. The Third Sunday of Advent was observed in medieval times as a splash of colour in the restrained atmosphere of Advent (Gaudete or ‘Rose Sunday’), and the last days of Advent were marked by the sequence of Great ‘O’ Antiphons, which continue to inspire modern Advent hymns and meditations.
Online Church at St Mary's Barnes
Gluten free wafers are available at communion services.
This is on request to the steward at the entrance on arrival at the service.