I consider myself a "recovering Advent purist."
The real purpose of Advent, I've come to believe, is to help us joyfully anticipate Christmas.
*I'm adding here a footnote on "Christmas" hymns sung during Advent, because this seems to generate a large amount of angst amongst my fellow clergy/liturgy planners: Some people balk at the idea of singing "Christmas" hymns durng Advent. But if you take a close look at the hymn texts – what is actually being said, theologically in the words -- you could make the argument that the assignment of a hymn to the "Advent" or "Christmas" section of the hymnal may well have been somewhat arbitrary:
Some hymns found in the "Advent" section mention the birth of Jesus as an accomplished historical fact, already having happened. For example, in Come Thou Long Expected Jesus, (hymn 66), we proclaim,
Born thy people to deliver,
born a child, and yet a king,
born to reign in us for ever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
"Born"? "Now"? Whoa, isn't that a Christmas hymn?!?
Yet with the woes of sin and strife
the world has suffered long;
beneath the heavenly hymn have rolled
two thousand years of wrong;
and warring humankind hears not
the tidings which they bring;
O hush the noise and cease your strife
and hear the angels sing!
For lo! the days are hastening on,
by prophets seen of old,
when with the ever-circling years
shall come the time foretold,
when peace shall over all the earth
its ancient spendors fling,
and all the world give back the song
which now the angels sing.
My point is that the 1982 Hymnal, like all liturgical resources, is a good servant but a horrible master. With some thought and effort, it's possible to choose hymns that unapologetically joyfully anticipate Christmas Day while at the same time not prematurely pulling out all the stops prior to December 24/25, the date the church has set aside to actually start celebrating the anniversary of the birth of Jesus.