The First Sunday of Advent - Reflection by Canon Leslie


Join us for worship online and read Canon Leslie's blog post for Sunday, 29 November 2020.

Today is Advent Sunday and the beginning of the Church’s new year. With Advent Sunday we move into Year B of the Church’s three-year lectionary cycle, and this means moving from Matthew’s Gospel to Mark’s Gospel. With Advent Sunday we begin the serious preparation for the Holy Nativity. The liturgical mood for Advent is made clear by the colour of the vestments. Purple marks a serious season of penitence, as God’s people prepare the way for the coming of their Lord. The Gospel readings for Advent set the theme of keeping watch, keeping awake, keeping ready for the Lord’s coming.

On Advent Sunday the Gospel reading is selected from Mark chapter 13, the chapter sandwiched between the Book of Jesus’ ministry (chapters 1 to 12) and the Book of the Passion Narrative (chapters 14 to 16). This part of Mark’s Gospel is often known as the Apocalyptic Discourse where the clarion call is simple and direct, ‘keep awake’.

For those of you who wanted to do some thinking and preparation for today’s service during the preceding week, I invited you to focus on the image of Advent wreaths. There is one form of Advent wreath that you may have made to hang on the door of your house as a sign to those who see it that you are keeping Advent and that you are watching for the coming birth of Christ. In today’s picture Teddy Horsley is holding his Advent wreath ready to hang on his door.

There is another form of Advent wreath designed to sit on a table or sideboard with four candles around the edges (three purple and one pink) and with one white candle in the middle. On the first two Sundays of Advent we light one purple candle, the pink candle on the third Sunday, the third purple candle on the fourth Sunday, and the white candle on Christmas Day.

Next week the image to help us prepare for the Second Sunday of Advent, whether offline in the cathedral or online at home, is Christmas adverts. You can find out more about that theme here We would really appreciate you letting us know how you are using these materials. Please send us your ideas and photos of the things you may create; email them to

If you’d like to learn more about Teddy Horsley and his writings, visit his website:, or his page on the website of St. Mary’s Centre:

We warmly invite you to join us in worship online here:

Teddy Horsley sends his Sunday greetings to all.

Canon Leslie