Advent and Lent

Jeff Munroe

READ : Luke 22:39-53

His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. (v. 44)

If you attend a liturgical church tomorrow, you will notice that the color of the paraments—including the stole the minister wears and any hanging adornments to the pulpit or Communion table—will be purple. It is the first Sunday of Advent, which marks the beginning of a new year on the church calendar, and purple is the color of Advent. While the world anticipates Christmas in red and green, the church uses purple, the same color used during the season of Lent.

Purple is the color of royalty, but it is also the color of penitence. Like Lent, Advent is a paradoxical season. We look forward to the birth of Jesus, but we also know that he was ultimately born to die. Salvation cannot happen without the birth of Jesus, but salvation actually happens through the death (and resurrection) of Jesus.

Just as Lent is paradoxical because it anticipates both the death and resurrection of Jesus, Advent is paradoxical because it anticipates both the birth and death of Jesus. Some have seen the cross foreshadowed in the wood of the manger and the linen shroud in the swaddling clothes. As with any birth there was blood, the essence of life, when Jesus was born. There would be blood again in the Garden of Gethsemane and finally on the cross at Calvary.


Lord, as we look forward to Christmas remind us of the connections between Christ’s birth and death.