We are a small Episcopal Church on the banks of the Rappahannock in Port Royal, Virginia. We acknowledge that we gather on the traditional land of the first people of Port Royal, the Nandtaughtacund, who are still here, and we honor with gratitude the land itself and the life of the Rappahannock Tribe. Our mission statement is to do God’s Will in all that we do.

Advent 1, 2023


Advent in 2 minutes Check out this Youtube video

Advent in 1 minute– A 2015 video from St. Mary’s Cypress

Explore Advent, Part 1– Over the next 4 Sundays there will be a presentation each week focusing on that week’s scriptures, art and commentary and how they demonstrate the themes of advent. Let’s get started with Advent 1.

Advent is the time when we change to a different year in the Lectionary. This year we move from Year A to B and from a concentration on the Gospel of Matthew to Mark. &nbspThere are several articles which are a general introduction to Mark 1. Shortest from christianity.about.com 2. Longer from the Catholic Bishops 3. Longest from a catholic source

Interested in the Church calendar ? Matthew’s interest about time in First Advent lends itself to understand how we measure time.

There are several articles/presentations about the infancy narratives 1. Brief summary between Matthew and Luke  2. Longer comparison

Advent 1 – Hope

Hope is the first of four candles associated with Advent. From Christianity.com – “At the first Christmas, when Jesus was born, Israel was waiting for a king, a Messiah, the Savior, the Redeemer who would change their circumstances, make them a great nation and throw off the tyranny of Rome. They were waiting for a person but what they really hoped for was a change of circumstances. So most of them missed him, disbelieved him, and then killed him—because their hope was in the wrong place.

Also known as the “prophecy candle,” this candle assures us we can have hope that God will fulfill the prophecies declared in the Old Testament about Jesus. Hope doesn’t disappoint us (Romans 5:5).

“Hope, in the Bible, exists as a secure assurance, a trust placed in a trustworthy God. God has not failed us in the past, and therefore, if he claims he will do something in the future, we can have a hope that he will fulfill that claim.”

The Importance of Advent 1

The first Sunday of Advent is one of change. A change to the altar in color; a change in the year – Advent is the first Sunday in the church year where this year we shift in the lectionary from Year A (Matthew) to Year B (Mark). A change in focus since Advent means to come:

The Coming of God to the world as a human baby
The Coming of God to the world in His glory at the end of time where God’s purposes will be fulfilled
The Coming of God into the world today. Jesus comes to us now in word and sacrament, in prayer and praise, in his Body, the Church. By the work of the Holy Spirit, the Jesus who was born in the past in Bethlehem and who will come in the future is present to us and in us now.

The altar colors changed to blue, the altar flowers were green

In a timing of coming, the Gospel emphasizes the need to prepared for future events. Isaiah envisions a time of full justice when all nations honor God and live in peace. In Romans, Paul reminds us that the nearness of our salvation enables us to love selflessly and live honorably. Paul asserts that the greatest motivation for the Christian’s moral life lies in the future–the Christ’s second coming. The end of time is near at hand. The great day of salvation is coming–sleep/night/darkness will give way to waking/day/light.

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Getting Ready for Advent

The name “Advent” actually comes from the Latin word adventus which means “coming.” It is a reminder of how the Jewish nation waited for the Messiah and how Christians are now waiting for the return of Christ.

Advent which begins on Sunday Dec. 3 is like a breath of fresh air -a new church year, a new set of Gospel readings from Mark, and the anticipation of the birth of Christ.

The Advent season is a time of preparation that directs our hearts and minds to Christ’s second coming at the end of time and also to the anniversary of the Lord’s birth on Christmas. It blends together a penitential spirit, very similar to Lent, a liturgical theme of preparation for the Second and Final Coming of the Lord, called the Parousia, and a joyful theme of getting ready for the Bethlehem event.

The Advent wreath, four candles on a wreath of evergreen, is shaped in a perfect circle to symbolize the eternity of God. The Advent Wreath is beautiful and evocative reminder of the life-giving qualities of light. The evergreens used in the wreath are reminders of ongoing life, even in the face of death.

Advent Traditions

Advent Wreath

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Waiting in Advent

From Very Reverend Rebecca Kello, Christ Episcopal Church, Bowling Green, Ky:

“One aspect about Advent that has always been striking to me is the concept of waiting.

“In Advent we wait in the darkness, we wait in anticipation and sometimes even in fear. We wait patiently and sometimes we wait in frustration. We wait so much that it can seem like all that we are asked to do during this season is to wait for the Christ child to be born and then we will be able to celebrate.

“In this daily reader however, Henri Nouwen’s essay, “Waiting for God” offers a challenging take on what it might mean to wait, not in a passive way, but to wait actively: A waiting person is a patient person. The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us. Impatient people are always expecting the real thing to happen somewhere else and therefore want to go elsewhere. The moment is empty. But patient people dare to stay where they are.

“Patient living means to live actively in the present and wait there. Waiting, then, is not passive. It involves nurturing the moment, as a mother nurtures the child that is growing in her. Zechariah, Elizabeth, and Mary were very present to the moment. That is why they could hear the angel. They were alert, attentive to the voice that spoke to them and said, ‘Don’t be afraid. Something is happening to you.

“‘Pay attention.’ I don’t know about you, but I am always amused by how often angels come, particularly during Advent, and bring a message that something is happening and always precede it with, ‘Don’t be afraid!” What Nouwen invites us to here as we enter this season of Advent is a time of active waiting; he invites us to a time of waiting that finds its depth and grounding in the fact that powerful things happen when it seems that nothing is actually happening at all.

“This is the season of waiting, where we wait actively for the Christ child. It’s the season of darkness and light dancing together, and yet even in times when the darkness feels like it is consuming, we wait; we wait in hope. It’s the season where we listen for the angel’s plea, as Nouwen bids us, “Don’t be afraid. Something is happening to you. Pay attention.”

The Church’s New Year begins on First Advent

The Lectionary, made up of the appointed readings for each Sunday, covers a three- year cycle, beginning each year on the first Sunday of Advent.  Year A uses readings from the Gospel according to Matthew, Year B from the Gospel according to Mark, and Year C from the Gospel according to Luke.  Readings from the Gospel according to John are woven throughout all three years. 

The yearly lectionary readings begin the new cycle of readings on the first Sunday of Advent.   This year we move from Year A to b and from a concentration on the Gospel of Matthew to Mark.   It all happens on Advent 1, Nov. 29

Mark is one of the Synoptic Gospels which means that Matthew, Mark and Luke present similar narratives of the life and death of Jesus Christ. It is the shortest of the four Gospels and likely the first, or earliest to be written. It was written Circa 55-65 A.D. This was probably the first Gospel to be written since all but 31 verses of Mark are found in the other three Gospels.

The Gospel of Mark was written to prove that Jesus Christ is the Messiah. Mark records more miracles of Christ than any of the other Gospels. Jesus proves his divinity in Mark by the demonstration of miracles. The Gospel of Mark was written to encourage the Christians in Rome as well as the wider church.

The Gospel of Mark also reveals Jesus the Servant. The overriding theme of the Gospel of Mark is to show that Jesus came to serve. Mark 10:44-45 …”and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

He gave his life in service to mankind. He lived out his message through service, therefore, we can follow his actions and learn by his example. The ultimate purpose of the book is to reveal Jesus’ call to personal fellowship with him through daily discipleship.

Advent Online Learning

Many of these courses were part of Christian education in earlier years before COVID classes were before church.-


No login or password is needed. You can start and stop the courses as desired. 

  1. Dickens A Christmas Carol and the Bible A deep read into the Christmas classic for references to the Bible and Dickens’ religious beliefs.
  2. Handel’s Messiah, Prophecy and Birth of the Messiah. The story of the Christmas part of the Messiah together with the music.
  3. Luke Canticles – Based on a book which examines 4 canticles in the Gospel of Luke, including the infancy story. A favorite!
  4. Matthew’s Infancy stories – Comparable to Luke but with a decidedly Jewish character and an emphasis on Joseph.
  5. The Twelve Days of Christmas Carols – 15+ carols for the days leading to Christmas. The background and musical selections are included.
  6. The new one this year is Renaissance Art and the Christmas Story. The Renaissance was the first period where art came into its own depicting the stories we know and love. The study is divided by subject and includes about 15 art examples.

Advent Season Resources

An online Advent potpourri in 6 categories of things to do in Advent – Read, Watch, Learn, Listen, Pray and Reflect and Make. There is something for everyone!

An Advent Collection

Read includes key points of Advent, the beginning of Advent, and waiting

Under Watch there are  videos –Nativity: The Art and Spirit of the Creche and The Story of Silent Night .

The Learn tab has the classes we have had at St. Peter’s including Luke’s Canticles, Matthew’s Infancy Stories, Christmas Carols and Dickens.

Listen includes Lessons and Carols from National Cathedral as well as an exploration of Antiphons .

Pray and Reflect features Advent meditations  a workshop involving prayer, scripture, candlelight and an adaptation of the Way of Love for Advent.

Finally Make has all sorts of crafts from Advent calendars, cooking and wreath creation.

Arts and Faith- Advent 1, Year B relating art and scripture

From Art and Faith

The First Week of Advent, Year B, is based on Mark 13:33–37. The art is William Holman Hunt’s “The Light of the World.”

“Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn.”

At the start of Advent, the Gospel calls us to vigilance—to watch and be ready for the Lord of the house, awaiting his return. William Holman Hunt’s The Light of the World offers us one image of what this arrival might look like. The Light of the World is deeply symbolic, showing Christ arriving at a door at night. It’s an allegory for Christ seeking entry at the door of the human heart. His way to the door is lit by a lantern, casting a soft light on the door to show that it is overgrown with plants; it has not been opened in a while. The plants also show that it is not only a late hour, but late in the year—they are dry, past harvest, and ready to crumble away as winter comes.

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Advent Meditations – Living Compass

Living Compass produces a book of daily meditations for Advent- “Living Well through Advent which begins Dec. 3

https://shop.livingcompass.org/collections/advent-and-lent-resources   The printed copy is $1 and the download is free.  (We have purchased 20 copies.)

The Living Compass Model for Well-Being offers us guidance in four dimensions of our being: heart, soul, strength, and mind and focus on how they are interconnected. The goal is wellness and wholeness

The theme this year is “Practicing Wonder as we move toward Christmas.”  Each week has an example of it demonstrated by the lives of the author

Week 1 is the connection between wonder and love. Through time and space, adversity and divide, love remains. Love is a constant. Like love, wonder opens the heart and touches our soul.

Week 2 is the connection between wonder and stories. Stories so often help us remember the One whose love we are preparing to celebrate, and those who have taught us so much about wonder and love through the years. Think of the diverse family members in your family

Week 3 explores the connection between wonder and thin places, be they physical, spiritual, emotional, or relational.  . A thin place is a location where the distance between God and Heaven and the Earth is thin. It is a place where deep transformation can happen as we strengthen our personal connection to God.

Week 4   is  the wonder of  God as made manifest in Mary’s faith and courage described in Luke, the birth of Jesus, and the reverent response of the shepherd

Selections from Advent 1 Sermon, 2020

I hate to wait. But yet again, the Church, in its wisdom, provides a whole season of waiting, just for me.

The Advent red light.

And not only are we waiting, but Jesus is clear that no one knows , not even Jesus, about how long the wait will be until the Son of Man returns with great power and glory and sets things right at last and turns a creation that had grown old into a new creation, one in which God dwells here with us.

No more crying there, no more sighing there, goes the old spiritual—we are going to see the King, Alleluia, alleluia, we are going to see the King.

“And all will be well, and all manner of things will be well,” as Julian of Norwich, who was a saint, of course, said.

But who knows when?

Alleluia indeed.

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