Here's the thing about the first day of Advent, it's always the purple Sunday. Well, actually, all of them are purple Sundays. Except for the third one. That one's always pink.
My Christian / Catholic pals are all smiling right now. They know what I'm blathering on about and they know why it's got me all happy. They, like I, are ecstatic because we have now officially entered the most wonderful time of the year.
And all that jubilation starts with the lighting of a little purple candle - at least, for those of us who celebrate the Advent season.
That's right, I'm talking about the "C" word and I make no apologies for it.
Because, contrary to the 1963 surfing song lyrics, the bird is NOT the word. The word, my friends, is Christmas. And no one, not an angry mob nor an apathetic one; not a shopping magnate nor a political party nor Santa himself can change the fact that Jesus is the reason for the season.
And the season starts with that little old purple candle. I'd like to take the liberty of walking you through the four Sundays in Advent, Patty-style.
Anyway, I took the advice of Warren native Christopher Cicero, a Roman Catholic priest and my parish's associate pastor - not to mention one of my favorite people on the planet - by picking up a copy of "The Word Among Us."
This is a small but significant booklet that helps guide Christians through the four weeks leading to Christmas by offering readings and meditations to glide us up to that main event on the 25th. It's sort of like the Cliff's Notes study guide for the holidays.
OK, so Advent Sunday No. 1 The lighting of the first purple candle. While we're all standing there thinking of the 14 bazillion things we need to do between now and the pink Sunday, the Big Guy is trying to show us the big picture. Forget about the symmetry of the star atop your tree and look past it straight up to the clouds. If you really focus, you'll see a lot more than a sleigh or reindeer - you'll see the Son of Man coming.
Then there's Advent Sunday No. 2 "Ooh, one week closer to Christmas and I still haven't heard my favorite tune 'Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree' yet," is what many of us might be pondering while that second purple candle gets lit. But what we really should be listening for is a voice crying out in the desert. It's small but clear and full of love and encouragement - and the hope of what is yet to be.
Which brings us to Advent Sunday No. 3 and the illumination of the pink candle. "Hurray! The pink one; finally the pink one! I wait all year for the cool pink one," many of us mentally scream that week. But really, that rose color is indicative of the rose-colored glasses we should all be wearing; as in we need to maintain an attitude of gratitude. We need to reflect not on all the things which we need to GET but rather that with which we have already been blessed - and be thankful to He who provided them.
Finally, there is Advent Sunday No. 4 and the lighting of the last purple candle. "Who cares that we're back to purple? Christmas is like, tomorrow! I gotta make cookies, wrap presents, find a bag of fresh chestnuts!" are some of the thoughts swirling so hard around our brains that the wind from our ears nearly blows out all four candles on the Advent wreath. But ironically, it's on this Sunday that we need to open our hearts to a different kind of flame - the Holy Spirit. We're to set aside noises and get excited about the true wonderland ... the one prepared for us by a little baby who came to save us from our sins; to save us from ourselves.
So, take a breath, calm yourself and prepare the way. Make time for what really matters and relax - the snowman cookies will get made sometime between now and the 25th.
Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist and lover of Christmas. Contact her with holly in your heart at firstname.lastname@example.org.