Saturday, November 30, 2013

Family Prayers before Advent Wreath

From http://www.catholicdoors.com/misc/adventwreath.htm

THE ADVENT WREATH

Advent is a Christian Festival that can be observed in the home as well as in the Church. This simple ceremony takes place in the home when the family is gathered together during the main meal. It is a time to remember the First Coming of Christ and to anticipate His Second Coming.

THE SYMBOLS

The Circle of the Wreath: God Himself, His eternity and His endless mercy, without beginning, nor end.
The Green of the Wreath: Our hope of newness, renewal and eternal life.
Light of the Candles: The Light of God that came into the world through Christ to bring newness, life and hope.
Lighting the Candles: The progressive departure of darkness from the world as the more and more light is shed through the candles.
Four Candles: The four weeks of Advent, representing the four centuries between the time of the Prophet Malachi and the birth of Christ.
Three Coloured (purple or blue) Candles: A period of waiting, expectation and preparation.
The First Candle: A time of expectation and hope.
The Second Candle: The peace that is to come.
The Pink (or Rose) Candle for the Third Week: It symbolizes joy for the promise is almost fulfilled.
The Fourth Candle: The love of God for mankind.
The Fifth White Candle (if applicable). Called the "Center Candle", it is lit on Christmas Eve or Day to display that the light of Christ has come into the world in fulfillment of the prophecies.






The Blessing of the Advent Wreath

The following is one example of many available ceremonies, prayers and devotions that are associated with the tradition of the blessing of the Advent wreath.

Leader: Our help is in the Name of the Lord.
All: Who has made Heaven and earth.
Leader: Let us pray: "O God, by whose Word all things are made holy, pour forth Your blessing upon this wreath, and grant that we who use it may prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ."
All: Amen.



First Week

Leader: The Lord is our faith and our life.
All: May the Lord's peace be with us all.
Leader: And His love shine in our hearts.
All: Our hope is in the coming of the Lord.
One purple candle is lit (traditionally by the youngest child; however, you may want all of your children to share in this activity). During the rest of the week, this candle is relit at the evening meal or whenever the family gathers together.
Leader: Let us pray: that our faith may be strengthened for the coming of the Lord.
Pause for silent prayer.
Father in Heaven, our hearts desire the warmth of Your love and our minds are searching for the light of Your Word. Increase our longing for Christ our Saviour and give us the strength to grow in our faith so that the day of His coming may find us prepared and filled with joy.
All: Amen.
Suggested Readings from the Holy Bible:
Isaiah 11:1-10
Luke: 1:26-38
Isaiah 7:10-14
Matthew 1:18-24



Second Week

Leader: May the Lord's peace be with us all.
All: The Lord is our faith and our life.
Leader: May His love shine in our hearts.
All: Our hope is in the coming of the Lord.
Two purple candles are lit and allowed to burn as before.
Leader: Let us pray: that we may experience fully the peace of Christ.
Pause for silent prayer.
Father in Heaven, the day draws near when the birth of your Son will make radiant the night of the waiting world. May His quiet coming fill us with true inner peace.
All: Amen.
Suggested Readings from the Holy Bible:
Micah 5:2
Matthew 2:1-2, 9-11
Isaiah 2:1-5
Matthew 3:1-6



Third Week

Leader: May the Lord's love shine in our hearts.
All: And may His peace be with us all.
Leader: The Lord is our faith and our life.
All: Our hope is in the coming of the Lord.
Two purple candles and the rose-colored candle are lit by the mother and allowed to burn as before.
Leader: Let us pray: that we may grow in love for each other as the Lord comes to us.
Pause for silent prayer.
Father in Heaven, may we Your family who look forward to the birthday of Christ experience the joy of Your love and celebrate His birth with a new sense of love for each other.
All: Amen.
Suggested Readings from the Holy Bible:
Isaiah 9:6-7
John 1:19-34
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
Philippians 2:1-11



Fourth Week

Leader: Our hope is in the coming of the Lord.
All: May His love shine in our hearts.
Leader: And may the Lord's peace be with us all.
All: The Lord is our hope and our life.
All four candles are lit by the father and allowed to burn as before.
Leader: Let us pray: that the newborn Saviour will bring us His love which lasts forever.
Pause for silent prayer.
Lord, our minds and hearts are filled with hope. We long to hear the voice which tells us of the coming of the Christ Child.
All: Amen.
Suggested Readings from the Holy Bible:
Malachi 3:1-5
Romans 8:18-25
Isaiah 52:7-10
Revelations 21:1-4

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