My habit every Christmas is to spend a few minutes each morning in front of the Advent wreath on our dining room table. For those of you not familiar with this Roman Catholic tradition, one sets up a simple wreath with four candles in the middle. Three are purple and one is pink. The candles correspond to the four Sundays of Advent: each week an additional candle is lit. The purple represents a heart turning back to God in repentance (repentance meaning “turning”) while the pink represents rejoicing.
Each morning I light the number of candles appropriate for the week of Advent, read a simple set of prayers and/or scripture readings, sing a verse of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and eat my breakfast before heading off to work. It does wonders to calm down the noise of Christmas and help me focus on the real meaning – the coming of Christ, the first time as a babe, and the second time at the end of the world. It’s a time of rebirth of Jesus in the heart.
This year I am using O Radiant Dawn: 5-Minute Prayers Around the Advent Wreath by Lisa Hendey. This book is geared for use with families but can certainly be used as an individual devotion as well. Using scripture, spoken prayer and questions for pondering, O Radiant Dawn is a wonderful companion for Advent.
Quiet prayers, quiet music, quiet prayers. A time to ponder what it means to be human, for God to condescend to us to become human and to love us so much that He would do that for us.
Much to think about indeed!
This song always puts me in the mood; it’s “Lo, How a Rose E’ere Blooming” from my Wait with Me CD:
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