The season of Advent, as the royal purple silk of our regal Advent banners reminds us, is a season of preparation for the coming of a king.   The four candles depicted in the first of our Advent banners are the familiar purple and pink Advent candles which we prayerfully light in December as we wait for the coming of our King.   The descending dove below them, an ancient symbol for God's Holy Spirit, recalls the Spirit's preparation for the King's first coming.   "The Holy Spirit will come upon you", said the angel Gabriel to Mary, "and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, he will be called Son of God".  (Luke 1:35).

Indeed, Gabriel may be the angel pictured in our second Advent banner.   This swirling spirit however, is appropriately faceless not only because the angels we meet in the Scripture are always without race and gender, but also because the angels we meet in the Scripture lessons of Advent are numerous.   It seems that God's apocalyptic messengers often join God's Holy Spirit in the work of preparing the hearts of women and men for the arrival of their regal visitor.

"The King is coming!"   That is the message of Advent's angels.   It may also be the Good News that is written for those who have eyes to see it, on this angel's unfurled scroll.

Angels announce with hymns of mirth
Him who brings new life to earth...
People look east and sing today;
Love the Guest is on the way.
Eleaor Farjeon,  1928