Advent, from the Latin 'adventus' meaning 'coming', began last Sunday and will last four weeks.
Advent's colour is purple. You will see the priest wearing purple robes and the altar will have a purple frontal (that's the decorative fabric panel facing the people). The silk cloth over the chalice (the 'veil') will also be purple.
Purple is chosen because it is the colour of penitence and it is also a royal colour, reminding us of the sovereignty of Christ.
During Advent it is natural to look forward to Christmas and Christ coming to us as a baby in Bethlehem, but an equally important focus should be Christ's Second Coming as judge and sovereign over all the earth.
The Advent purple reminds us to reflect and prepare our souls and lives for Christ's presence with us.
Lo! He comes with clouds descending,
Once for favored sinners slain;
Thousand thousand saints attending,
Swell the triumph of His train:
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
God appears on earth to reign.
Yea, amen! let all adore Thee,
High on Thine eternal throne;
Saviour, take the pow'r and glory,
Claim the kingdom for Thine own:
O come quickly, O come quickly,
Alleluia! come, Lord, come!
- Lo! He comes with clouds descending [Lichfield Cathedral Choir]