The First Sunday of Advent
The First Sunday In Advent
Advent begins Sunday, November 27 th
The history of Advent is unclear. It started in Spain somewhere in the 3rd century and sometime in the 6th century in Rome. It was originally 5 Sundays before Christmas and then was reduced to the 4th Sunday (closet to St. Andrews Day) ,before Christmas by Pope Gregory VII. Although times and dates are unclear the preparation remains the same, awaiting for the Birth of Christ. Advent in Latin, (advenire) means "arrival" or "coming". This spiritual celebration is very similar to that of Lent. In Lent we prepare for His sacrifice and death. In Advent we prepare for the child Jesus coming. We should remember that His coming is not only by His birth, As the Creed states, "He will come again to judge the living and the dead".Also remember, that He comes to us in Holy Communion.
The early church required prayer and fasting on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Fridays are the only day of fast in Lent. No longer a requirement was to fast every Friday of the year, but this too has fallen away. Although no longer a requirement, let it be known that if we do fast, we offer more to the Lord, and it is pleasing to Him.
A great way to prepare for Jesus to come is to ask Him to come into our hearts. We do this by prayer. There are several prayers and ways to prepare for the Birth of Our Lord and I would like to post those in the coming weeks. There are great ways to bring the family together by sharing in the joy of the Holy Family. One way to bring the family closer is to make an Advent wreath. The Advent wreath is traditonally made from fresh evergreen branches. It is circular in shape and consists of 4 candles. Three candles are purple and one is pink. This symbolizes Preparation Penance and Sacrifice.
The first Sunday in Advent starts the lighting of one purple candle. Each day during the week it is lit and a short prayer is to be said. A good time to do this is around mealtime with the family
The Blessing for The Advent Wreath
O God, by whose word all things are sanctified, pour forth thy blessing upon this wreath and grant that we who use it may prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ, and may receive from thee abundant graces. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
The Angelus, The Magnificat, and of course the Rosary are wonderful prayers to say.
The Epistle Reading
Romans 13: 11-14
Luke 21: 25-33
Preparing the Manger
The scene of the Nativity is usually depicted as a cave or a simple wooden structure. They can be incredibly complex or simple, made of fine ceramics or of wood or paper. But in all cases, the basics of the Nativity Scene are Mary (on Christ's right, or our left as we face the manger), St. Joseph (to Christ's left, or our right as we face the manger), at least one angel, the three Magi, at least one shepherd, and the ox and the ass. That Jesus lay between an ox and an ass is ascertained from Isaiah 1:3: