Although not carrying as strictly a penitential tone as does Lent, the Church does mark this preparation period before Christmas with penitential sentiments. Liturgically, violet vestments are worn on Sundays and on weekdays that have no saint assigned, the Gloria in excelsis is absent, the joyful Alleluia, although present, is not as frequent, and the organ is subdued. All are encouraged to follow these sentiments with some suitable penance and devotions in preparation for the arrival of the Christ Child in four short weeks, perhaps an added Mass during the week, a family Advent wreath and prayers, small sacrifices that add straw to the home Manger, among other things that better serve to keep Christ in Christmas.

Beginning on December 17, the great “O Antiphons” are sung in office of Vespers, all which tell of some quality of the Infant King, finally hailing Him as Emmanuel, that is “God with us” on December 23.