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Bringing Advent Back

December 1, 2014

We’ve all said it; “Christmas seems to come earlier every year”.  This year I was surprised at how many of my Facebook friends were posting in mid-October about how they couldn’t wait for Halloween to end so that they could put up their Christmas trees.  I thought to myself “They have to be kidding, nobody would put up their Christmas tree on November 1st”.  Low behold I was proven wrong.  On November 1st, the Solemnity of All Saints, the oldies station here in St. Louis flipped formats to 24-hour-a-day Christmas tunes and no fewer than three of my friends posted pictures of their Christmas trees.

This brings up a good question; What about Advent.  You remember… Advent… O Antiphons… Those four purple and pink candles… Jesse Trees… You know, Advent.

With the rush to turn your home into the perfect winter wonderland coming earlier and earlier every year it’s hard to find the time to fit Advent into into one’s life.

I get it.  I mean who doesn’t love Christmas.  It’s a time of joy in the Church’s year, and it may be the only time where, in today’s world, we Christians get to geek out (in a religious sense of course).  We can openly flaunt out Christianity with little fear of repute from friends.  When was the last time a cashier in a store wished you a happy feast of St. Charles Borromeo?  Christmas is a great time, but Advent is too.

My Advent Wreath

My Advent Wreath

Advent is one of the richest seasons in the Church’s year in terms of traditions that can help us grow closer to the Lord.  First and foremost Advent is a time of preparation.  Before the Church’s two most important feasts (Christmas and Easter) we are given a period of time to reflect and prepare ourselves to celebrate.  These are periods of permanence.  In this time we should not only bring to mind our failings and renew our resolve and pick up a new devotion.

Advent Wreath

We all see Advent wreaths in our parish, but do you put one in your home?  You should!  Think about lighting candles during dinner or while reading advent meditations from Divine Intimacy or another good devotional.

O Antiphons

The seven O Antiphons, prayed as part of Vespers between December 17 and December 23, are great prayers to add to your family prayer life in order to make time time more special.  These antiphons also connect us to the earliest Christians with the earliest written references to their use dating to the sixth century.

Antiphon

  • December 17: O Sapientia (O Wisdom)
  • December 18: O Adonai (O Lord)
  • December 19: O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse)
  • December 20: O Clavis David (O Key of David)
  • December 21: O Oriens (O Dayspring)
  • December 22: O Rex Gentium (O King of the nations)
  • December 23: O Emmanuel (O With Us Under God)

(For complete text of the O Antiphons click HERE)

Jesse Tree

Jesse Tree’s represent the genealogy of Jesus.  They are a great way to teach kids about the genealogical scripture and it’s significance.  Every day one can reflect on a different ancestor of our Lord.

Novenas

Of course we can’t forget two great novenas for The Immaculate Conception (Nov. 29 – Dec. 7) and Christmas (Nov. 30 – Dec. 24).   How could we pass up all of these spiritual graces?

In order to properly live Advent I’ve decided not to put up Christmas decor until after the Fourth Sunday of Advent.  That right… no tree, no wreaths, no lights, or even a single snow globe.  Just the traditional purple cloth draping my prayer table, an advent wreath, and a nativity with empty crib.  I encourage you to put off some of the Christmas celebrations in order to immerse yourself deeper in the season of Advent and explore some of the Church’s hidden traditions as well.

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From → Everyday Faith

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