Everybody knows that the “Advent” season precedes Christmas. Historically it began as a three or four week time, set aside to prepare spiritually for the great Solemnity of the Epiphany – and then when the observance of Christmas began to be more important in the Western Church, for that Feast.
It’s still a time of preparation, at least “officially” it is. And I think it would be a wonderful thing if we could “ignore” all of the commercial and social Christmas activities and just spend the whole Advent season in increased prayer, Bible reading, and spiritual anticipation of the great Feasts of Christ’s coming. In our secular society Christmas has become “too much, too soon.” But for most of us that kind of 100% concentration on “preparation” for Christmas during Advent is impossible. (Maybe in monasteries and really tiny rural villages the classic spirit of Advent can be maintained. In the middle of Baton Rouge, no!) It’s a little silly to pretend otherwise.
So that’s why I advise people treat Advent as a “season of refuge.” Use the Advent liturgies and Scriptures, which point to Christ in a very reassuring way, as a quiet “escape” from the hustle-and-bustle of secular holiday activities. You can “get away” from your hectic schedule in church! You can still rediscover “the reason for the season.” You can take time for prayer. The purple of Advent can be a purple of peace and quiet!