First Sunday of Advent – The Purple of Preparation
December 1, 2019
Paul practically comes through the pages of this ancient text, begging his hearers to recognize what time it is. The time is at hand, he seems to shout, for those of us who follow Jesus to get it together and reflect the One on the cusp of coming to meet us. Salvation is near, nearer than when we first believed, so we best wake up, stand up, look up and get ourselves ready for this transcendent, transformative, life-upending encounter with God. Imagine if we thought of the season of Advent in these terms.
When the purple paraments adorn the pulpit, we ought to know the time is at hand to prepare to meet the Son of God. The purple dotting the sanctuary or resting on the pastor’s shoulders should signal to us a sense of urgency, a feeling of nervous anticipation, because salvation is drawing near and time is running out to make ready for Jesus’ arrival.
Paul instructs us, purple Presbyterians that we are, to lay aside works of darkness — that’s what urgent preparation requires, first and foremost. Whatever sin clings closely, shake it off. Take stock and be honest and then lay aside whatever it is that obscures the light of Christ in you. Let the purple of preparation prompt you to step away from the darkness and bask in the light. Put on the whole armor of it: the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shield of faith and the like. Advent is the season to prepare to meet Jesus by stepping away from and out of the dark and into the light of faith, hope and love.
God of all that is seen and unseen, you know what works of darkness we commit. Nothing is hidden from you. Despite our propensity to do what we know we ought not to do, you send your Son to save us. During this Advent season we seek you, your wisdom, your strength and your will in order to be prepared to meet our Savior, the light no darkness can overcome — not ours,
not the world’s. Amen.