Welcome to Advent and the start of a new church year. This past Sunday was a refreshing change of pace in so many ways. For one thing, the altar guild had hung banners, put out the Advent wreath, and changed the altar colors to blue. I also noticed the stark contrast between Wednesday night's service when all the windows were dark. The silence of an evening service always seems heavier and more contemplative. By contrast, this past Sunday the light through the stained glass seemed especially brilliant.
We also switched our liturgical setting. We've returned to ELW setting 3, which is familiar to us from the LBW. This is honestly the first time since the ELW was introduced that I didn't feel a sense of relief upon returning to the familiar music. I had become used to the sound of the upbeat music of setting 2, and the "new" setting seemed almost pedestrian by comparison. I still love the music, but it no longer provides quite the same sensation of returning home. Do other people feel the same way?
The choir had the week off, but they'll be hard at work with Christmas preparations. It's so appropriate that Advent is the season of preparation and anticipation. A musician can never forget that! Everyone is busy with preparations - whether decorating, cleaning, making travel plans, or just trying to finish the school semester and holiday season still in possession of your sanity. Of course, none of those are as important as the spiritual preparations we come together to sing about every Sunday at the beginning of this new year.