For four Sundays prior to Christmas, the Church observes a season of waiting, anticipation, and preparation known as Advent. Advent literally means coming, the coming of the promised Messiah, Our Lord Jesus Christ, God incarnate. You will notice that throughout the Advent season, the front of the altar proclaims Adveniat Regnum Tuum, or “thy kingdom come.” Indeed, during Advent we not only commemorate the anticipation of the Christ child more than two thousand years ago, but also the coming of Christ the King, the Risen Christ who will come again in glory—a kingdom not yet in its fullness but nevertheless very much a part of the present moment.
So as we near the winter solstice, daylight growing scarcer, we light more and more candles around the Advent wreath, the light of Christ coming nearer and nearer. The month leading up to Christmas, then, is a way of preparing us for what has come and what is to come.
Each of the four Sundays of Advent is unique. The First Sunday of Advent features an Advent Procession, during which you will be treated to the choir singing from different parts of the church. The first half of the service is a woven tapestry of the entirety of Advent presented through music, word, and prayer, and dramatically ends with the singing of Come, thou Redeemer of the earth as the choir and clergy process down the center aisle, a moving sequence that will be repeated at Lessons & Carols on the Fourth Sunday of Advent with the singing of Once in royal David’s city. The second half of the service includes a homily by the Rector and then a celebration of the Eucharist at the High Altar.
The Second Sunday of Advent features the Great Litany, in which the choir and clergy walk in a long procession through the aisles of the nave, among the congregation, as we ask God to hear our prayers. The Third Sunday of Advent (Gaudete) is a time of rejoicing, as we are now very close to the arrival of Christ. Gaudete features the Christmas Pageant by the Saint Thomas Youth at 1pm. And the Fourth Sunday of Advent brings us very near the Christmas season in the form of Nine Lessons & Carols (more on Lessons and Carols on the Christmas page).
In between the Sundays of Advent are choral evensongs, concerts, and daily said worship services in the Chantry Chapel. See the December calendar for all events. We invite you to worship with us as often as you are able, or to listen to the webcasts of all choral services when you can't be with us. Our King and Savior draweth nigh. O come let us adore him.