'Tis the nature of Advent and Christmas to dazzle. Angels abound, from Gabriel making his announcements to Zachariah and Mary, to Joseph's night visitors, to the heavenly army praising God before an audience of shepherds.
Advent and Lent are both times of penitence leading up to great events, but they are tinged differently. Lent leads up to Easter, yes, but first to the God-forsakenness of Good Friday. It is a dark time, the purple banners wreathed in shadow. Advent leads up to a birth, the beginning of the fulfillment of God's promise to save his people. "God has raised up for us a mighty savior", sang Zachariah, "born of the house of his servant David." Zechariah and Elizabeth were amazed, filled with joy. Their relatives and neighbors were amazed. A few month earlier, John had leaped for joy in his mother's womb at the approach of Mary, still not showing, but carrying John's savior and Lord in her womb.
The laments and penitence of Advent are purple banners fringed with the dazzling light and color of joy.