Have you noticed that the color for the season of Advent has changed from purple to blue? Purple—having to do with repentance and preparation to meet royalty—has traditionally been the color for both Advent and Lent. The color blue has been associated with Mary and the joy at her conception, and so is a welcome indicator of the wonders of God’s love.
Yet Advent is still a season of preparation so that we all realize as much joy from Christmas as possible. But there are two ways of preparing. The world’s way is to do more celebrating before Christmas comes, which seems like it should work. The Word’s way is by means of repentance. The height of joy at the incarnation of our Lord Jesus comes as the antidote for the depths of sorrow we have over our sin that made His life in this world as our substitute necessary.
Within the context of God’s saving work, repentance is not like having to confess your crimes before a judge who will turn you over to an executioner (Jesus already went through that for us all!). On the contrary, it is God’s own work in us to give us a new mind, heart, and care by which He turns us in repentance toward Him and away from our sin. Our repentance is like telling our physician all that troubles us, and in this case, our physician is that Great Physician of body and soul, in time and eternity. He heals all our diseases; He redeems our life from the pit (Psalm 103).
Advent is a time of celebration and joy over the rest God gives us through the life of Jesus, born on Christmas day. As the carol sings, “God rest ye merry gentlemen, let nothing you dismay; remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas day; to save us all from Satan’s power when we had gone astray; Oh tidings of comfort and joy!”