Latin: "to come"
The season of Advent marks the beginning of the church year and comprises the four weeks before Christmas. The church has observed a season of preparation before Christmas since the appearance of regulations on fasting issued by Bishop Perpetuus of Tours in 490 C.E.
- darkness / light
- expectation of the incarnation of Christ on Christmas
- anticipation of the fullness of time at Christ's second coming
Color of the Season
- Blue, suggesting hope
- An older tradition uses purple, the royal color of the coming king.
Planning the Liturgy
- To emphasize the yearning and preparation for the presence of Christ, the assembly is encouraged to refrain from Christmas celebrations until the celebration of Christmas that begins on December 24.
- The reflective character of the season encourages simplicity in ritual and opportunities for silent reflection within the liturgy.
- A simple entrance rite that includes the Kyrie and omits the Hymn of Praise is appropriate.
- Advent wreath - see more in our FAQ about the Advent Wreath.
- If the congregation normally does not sing the psalm in response to the Old Testament reading, participate in the ancient tradition of singing the psalm to a simple psalm tone.
- Use the Nicene Creed.
- Use the proper preface for Advent that can be found in the Leader's Edition of Evangelical Lutheran Worship on page 181.
- Use Eucharistic Prayer III found on page 110 of the pew edition of Evangelical Lutheran Worship or page 196 of the Leader's Edition. This Eucharistic prayer contains images and language that are particularly appropriate for the season.
- Kids Celebrate Advent & Christmas introduces children to the seasons of the church and is available for pre-readers and young readers.
- Provide families an opportunity to learn about the Advent Wreath that they see in the worship space and to make one for their home devotional use. Plan an event in mid-November to make Advent wreaths or send home kits with wreath making materials from Sunday School.
- If your congregation has activity bags for children, include materials appropriate for the season such as line drawings of an Advent Wreath and blue crayons.
- Have children help set up the nativity scene in the crèche throughout the Advent, Christmas and Epiphany seasons. Add figures as they appear in the Biblical readings. Begin with the stable, empty manger and animals. Have the figurines of Mary, Joseph and the shepherds approach the scene from a distant location within the sanctuary.
Advent is an appropriate time to introduce a daily prayer liturgy. The weekly observation of Morning, Evening or Night prayer offers the assembly a time of devotion and contemplation that counteracts the busyness of the season and underscores the Advent themes of hope and expectance of the presence of God in Christ.
- Evening prayer, beginning on page 309 of Evangelical Lutheran Worship, provides an option for an opening dialog appropriate for the season of Advent.
- Appropriate biblical readings for the season can be found in the daily lectionary found beginning on page 1121 of Evangelical Lutheran Worship.