As it should be: Advent, I've long argued, should be observed NOT (as the lectionary would have us do) primarily as a penitential season anticipating the secondcoming of Jesus. Rather, Advent should primarily be ajoyful season anticipating our annual celebration of Jesus' first coming on that first Christmas.
That is why we (The Falls Church Episcopal) slightly modifies (with the Bishop's permission, I hasten to add) our lectionary during Advent.
- the angel Gabriel's annunciation to Mary and Mary's visitation to Elizabeth,
- Mary's Magnificat song of praise and
- As on this Sunday -- the remarkable story ofGod's interrupting Joseph's all-too-human, all-too-uninspired plans to "dismiss her quietly"