Advent is a special time of watching and waiting for the coming of the Lord. We are an Advent people that awaits the time of our Lord’s coming. Each year we have this time to quiet ourselves to reflect more deeply on the true meaning of Christ’s coming both recalling His birth and awaiting his return. As church we tone down our Sunday Mass, we drape the altar in purple linen, the lively Masses are simplified. Each week we light a candle praying, watching and waiting for the Lord to renew our hearts and minds.
Like Lent, Advent is a preparatory season. It has significance because it is a season of looking forward and waiting for something greater.
during Advent, the faithful are asked to prepare themselves worthily to celebrate the anniversary of the Lord’s coming into the world as the incarnate God of love,
thus to make their souls fitting abodes for the Redeemer coming in Holy Communion and through grace, and thereby to make themselves ready for His final coming as judge, at death and at the end of the world.
We begin the new liturgical year with the Gospel of Mark. Called to be watchful and stay alert. This call to watchfulness in the first Sunday immediately reminds us that our advent season is not only reflective but is active and in anticipation of something great, something new that God desires to do in and through us. This is a blessed and opportune time for God to enter our lives to renew, to heal, to make whole and restore. We ask God to change our hearts to be more like His, to renew our minds that we might be open to the newness and changes He wishes to bring about in our lives individually and as a parish. With hope and joy more changes, more newness of life is instore for us.
Thank you Lord for all the ways you are ever changing, ever renewing our Iives, so that we might become the people you have called us to be, a people watching, waiting for your return.
GATHERING AROUND THE ADVENT WREATH in your home
READINGS FOR ADVENT
FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT
Speaker 1: Lighting a candle in the darkness helps us find our way. In darkness we lose direction. We cannot see where we have been or where we are going. A single candle, flickering brightly, helps us find our way again.
Speaker 2: “Stir up your might, and come to save us. Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved” (Psalm 80:2b-3).
The first candle is lit.
Speaker 3: Light one candle; see it glow
Brightly, so that all may know
How one candle shows the way
Making our darkness bright as God’s day.
Speaker 4: Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved. All pray: Dear God, on this first Sunday in Advent, let this light shine brightly as the days grow shorter, so that we will be ready for your face to shine upon us at Christmas. In the Savior’s name we pray. Amen.