There is significant evidence from the first millenium of the life of the Church that there was originally a seven week season of Advent, at least in some locales. The evidence comes out of the period when the church year was in its development stages. Remants of this can still be seen in the current church year pericopal systems, both the Historic and the Three-Year. Themes for the last three Sundays of the church year are eschatological in nature, that is, they deal with the Day of Judgment and the End of all things. So too, this theme is -- or ought to be -- prominent in Advent, particularly for the Second Sunday in Advent.
Some current pericopal emphases tend to deemphasize this eschatological theme, which is understandable, given the refusal of many churches these days even to acknowledge the teaching of a return of Christ in glory, to say nothing of emphasizing it.
This trend is most notably apparent in places where churches cave in to the demands of some that Christmas preparations provide for the singing of Christmas carols during the Sundays in Advent. One could reason that these demands are better than societal demands for a wholesale removal of Christmas, in favor of nondescript celebrations for the winter solstice or kwanzaa or the latest fad. Better perhaps, but not good enough.
Let Advent be Advent. And let the churches remember the high importance of the eschatological theme for the season. Advent is a time of preparation, to be sure; but what better form of preparation is there for the coming of Christ than penitential hearts? The preparations of the season ought primarily to be penitential preparations for His return.
His coming in grace will be all the more welcomed when the need for it becomes evident to us by the preaching of repentance. Hence also the emphasis of John the Baptist for the latter weeks of Advent. And the liturgical color ought to be purple, the color of penitence, rather than blue, which of late has been called the color of hope or expectation. Actually, blue is supposed to be the Marian color, isn't it?
If we wish to celebrate Christmas aright, it must be as gift for the undeserving; and therefore let us be penitent during these days leading thereto.