When Advent begins this year on November 30th all of the stores will already be festooned with Christmas decorations and your family calendar may start to look like there will be no time to breathe between Thanksgiving and the 25th of December.
Come, Lord Jesus, Come!
Every November, after we have given thanks in a family gathering that fills our home (and causes us to gain a few pounds in post-Thanksgiving pie consumption) I take a deep breath and consider Christmas.
In my desire to give something unique (and affordable) to my husband, beloved nieces and nephews, to find that special treat for each of our six children, my daughter in law and our first granddaughter, as well as thoughtful gifts for close family and friends– I can really push the limit on what is possible to get finished in the 24 days before Christmas. This sometimes traps me in the list of things to purchase and stuff “to do” while what I really need is a deep breath and a moment of prayer. Blessed Mother Teresa said: “It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”
For me, it is the Advent Wreath that helps to focus my energy on preparing for Jesus’ birth. The Advent wreath on our dining room table is present from early morning, soggy cereal to homework after school, our family meals and the cup of tea at the end of the day while my high school daughter studies.
The focus and countdown of the Advent Wreath helps to prepare my mind and heart for Christmas. Prepare it by dialing back on the stress and panic of the Christmas Countdown and remembering the bigger picture. Family dinner time prayers can now include the joyful anticipation of Our Savior’s birth. At a time when I’m trying to do it all, it is prayer that centers me and helps me trust that God has a plan. My personal plans will need revision and have unexpected interruptions. God’s plan is a mystery to me but the beautiful thing is: I trust in His goodness. I trust in God’s plan.
Below is the prayer our family will use during Advent at the dinner table. I will have a few small print outs tucked in the Advent Wreath so we can pray it together. May you and those you hold dear have a blessed Advent.
Advent Prayer for Hope in Christ’s Coming
help us to look forward in hope
to the coming of our Savior.
May we live as he taught,
ready to welcome him with burning love and faith.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
~from the Liturgy of Hours
Advent Related Items for Individuals and Families
- Advent Wreaths – Four and five candle Advent wreaths in a variety of designs, from traditional to contemporary.
- Advent Books – Daily readings, family activities and books for children and adults to guide you thought he Advent Season
- Advent Calendars – Hands on day by day guides leading children through the weeks of Advent.
- Replacement Advent Candles – If you burn your candles everyday, there is a good chance you will need a replacement for one or two before Christmas comes.