Advent is my favorite season at LSTC. Mainly because we get to sing all of those wonderful much-neglected Advent hymns. Don’t get me wrong; I love Christmas music as much as the next guy, but Christmas hymns seem deeper and truer for having spent December with the hauntingly beautiful “Each Winter As the Year Grows Colder” or eager “All Earth Is Hopeful.”
More than the hymnody, I love the simplicity of the season, the somber blues, the flickering candles, the flash of an evergreen wreath in the midst of the bare winter branches. Advent just seems to fit the mood of the seminary in December. Two weeks left in the semester, it is a stressful time. And then here comes Advent, like “communal deep breathing.” Advent is somber, but not penitential like Lent. Instead, it is hopeful waiting. A deep pause that assures you that even in the midst of chaos everything will be, in the end, all right. This year, the Advent wreath in the chapel is an “eternal flame.” This small, constant flickering candle reminds us that one small light shines through the deepest darkness and the Light of the World is on the way.