A Moment before the First Sunday in Advent

Just when all of the green in church would finally make sense as we get closer to Christmas, it’s replaced with purple.  Why?  To show the change to Advent, the season where the Church desperately tries to keep itself from putting up the Christmas decorations and singing Christmas carols - while waiting for Christmas. 

But instead of pre-Christmas stories while we wait, the readings for Advent start with the reason for this pre-Christmas season - Salvation and the Second Coming.  What does that have to do with waiting for Christmas?  It’s the backstory, the “why” of Christmas. 

Sunday’s readings are a call and response.  In the Old Testament reading (the call), Isaiah speaks for a humanity that has messed up and knows it.  It’s the voice of honesty (realizing that you need help) and humility (getting over yourself and actually asking for help). 

In the Gospel (the response), Jesus makes it clear that it is worth it to ask for help, telling us to watch for the help that is coming.  Which sets the tone for the waiting of Advent, watching in hope, knowing that the help is real and on the way.