This year, let’s really do Advent

By | November 18, 2009


(CNS photo | Nancy Wiechec)

Let’s pick a day of the week and a time that works for those we’d like to have join us. We might have to say something like, “Hey, remember praying around the Advent Wreath when we were kids? Let’s do that again this year.”

Let’s invite friends, neighbors, co-workers, grandparents, children and grandchildren.

Keep it short and sweet. Our Advent Wreath ceremony doesn’t have to be a major production – 10, 15 minutes max. That’s not too much to ask.

And it’s pretty simple.

The Compass is making it easy by publishing an Advent Wreath ritual during each of the four weeks of the Advent season.

Clip it out of the paper or pull it up at and make all the copies you need.

So this week, get ready for the season of preparation. Maybe you can make it a Thanksgiving holiday event. Find a wreath, or make one out of garland or even cut greens from the yard. Gather your candles: three purple and one pink. You can add a center Christ candle if you want. Get creative: Use bows, flowers, glitter. Have everyone help and have each person put something on the wreath that has special meaning to them. Have them tell why their item is special.

When the wreath is done, put it in a special place in the house where everyone can see it each day. Even unlit, it’s a reminder of our faith.

When the wreath is done, end the gathering with a blessing like this one:

Advent series

Part 1: First week of Advent

Part 2: Second week of Advent

“O God, whose word of promise was spoken through prophets in ages past and fulfilled in the birth of your Son, Jesus, bless our Advent wreath. May its circle of green branches remind us of your never-ending love as we prepare for the coming of Christ, both at Christmas and every day of our lives. We ask this through Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, Amen.”

Why should we do this?
Because it will be the first step in observing, living and celebrating the new church year, which starts on the First Sunday of Advent, Nov. 29. Our preparations will get us started on remembering our call to holiness.
And just think: If we do Advent right – if we prepare the way of the Lord in our own lives, in our own households, in our own communities – Christmas this year may just be less about presents and more about the gift that we all received with the birth of the Child Jesus.

Zyskowski is associate publisher of The Catholic Spirit, newspaper of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

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