The four week season of Advent leading up to Christmas, marks the beginning of the Church’s year. The emphasis in Advent is on waiting for the coming of God and so it is a season of hope as we seek to silence the noise of the  mind, be still, and wait in expectation.

It is also a ‘penitential’ season – that is one in which we acknowledge our need of forgiveness for the pain and divisions of the world, even as we look forward to a new one.  With these emphases on waiting, silence, confession and hope, it is a season that runs counter to the fevered rush of the commercial Christmas, and all these responses find their focus in the great Advent Carol Service in the evening of Advent Sunday.