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.
Accordingly, we get to hear the remarkable stories of the angel Gabriel's annunciation to Mary and Mary's visitation to Elizabeth,Mary's Magnificatsong of praise and As on this Sunday -- the remarkable story ofGod's interrupting Joseph's all-too-human, all-too-uninspired plansto "dismiss her quietly" as a way of preparing our hearts for Christmas.
By way of putting Advent into a good…