Book of Alternative Services

These readings are from the Anglican Church of Canada’s adaptation of the Revised Common Lectionary. On Sundays and feast days there is a link to the full readings.

Liturgical Year A: Nov 27, 2022 to Dec 2, 2023
Liturgical Year B: Dec 3, 2023 to Nov 30, 2024

First Sunday of Advent (Violet or Blue)

Sunday, December 3rd, 2023


The Advent Wreath: An Advent wreath may be erected in the church with four candles (rose for Advent III and violet for the other Sundays--the traditional liturgical colours of Advent, but for parishes that use blue during Advent it would be appropriate for the candles to also be blue). These traditionally represent 1) the Patriarchs, 2) the Prophets, 3) John the Baptist, and 4) the Blessed Virgin Mary. Another popular representation is 1) Hope, 2) Peace, 3) Love, and 4) Joy. Some choose to combine these by describing the candle from the one and the intent from the other, for example "We light the candle of Love for the Blessed Virgin Mary". Often a fifth candle (white) is placed in the centre of the wreath to be lit on Christmas Eve and throughout the Christmas season. Each Sunday (beginning with First Evening Prayer), the appropriate number of candles is lit in advance of the formal liturgy. The Book of Occasional Celebrations provides material for the use of the Advent Wreath (A34).

Gloria in Advent: It is customary to omit the Gloria during the season of Advent.

Advent Festival of Readings and Music: The Book of Occasional Celebrations (A2) provides materials for this service to be used during the Advent season.

Advent Prose: Many parishes use the Advent Prose during this season. This can be found in many Anglican hymnals.

Ancient Advent Antiphons: The O Antiphons may be said or sung before and after the Magnificat at evening prayer between the 17th and the 23rd of December, when Advent enters it final thematic phase anticipating the Nativity of Christ. These antiphons, or refrains, all beginning "O...", were sung before and after the Magnificat at Vespers, according to the Roman use, on the seven days preceding Christmas Eve (17-23 December). They are addressed to God, calling for him to come as teacher and deliverer, with a tapestry of scriptural titles and pictures that describe his saving work in Christ. It is not known when and by whom the antiphons were composed, but they were already in use by the eighth century. The translations provided are from the Church of England's Common Worship.

Colour Note: In the last fifty years the colour blue for Advent has become increasingly popular in many parts of the Canadian church in place of the older colour violet. In other parts of the Canadian Church this usage is not common. I place violet as the first colour option as all parishes and regions of the church that use hangings and vestments can reasonably be expected to already possess violet ones but not all can reasonably be expected to possess blue ones.

Those that use the colour blue often do so to give expression to the assertion that the escatalogical theme of Advent does not have or should not have a penitential character. I only want to point out to those parishes that either do not possess blue hangings and vestments or cannot afford them that it is not necessary to do so to properly observe Advent. The medieval church in England, including Sarum, mostly used unbleached linen for the penitential season of Lent and violet/blue in Advent to emphasise the Kingship of Christ. So violet first seems to have emphasised Kingship and then later came to emphasise penitence. In short, a rationale may be used to support both colour usages, and thus both colours may be suitably used to observe the escatalogical theme of Advent that anticipates with hope the coming of Christ in His Incarnation and at the end of time.

Morning Prayer: (Year 2) Ps 146, 147; Am 1:1-5, 13--2:8; 1 Th 5:1-11; Coll 268

Holy Eucharist: (Year B) Propers 268; Is 64:1-9; Ps 80:1-7, 16-18; 1 Cor 1:3-9; Mk 13:24-37; Preface of Advent

Evening Prayer: Ps 111, 112, 113; (Is 1:1-9); Lk 21:5-9; Coll 268

Link to full text for this day.

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Lectionary citations are reprinted from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts, admin. by Augsburg Fortress. Reproduced by permission.