Advent candle

Keep calm and keep Advent well. That’s the way to be sure you can keep Christmas well.

But how to keep Advent well?

Here are some suggestions.

  • Make a deliberate choice to spend five minutes a day in quiet prayer – by yourself or with your family.
  • Subscribe to this parish blog (click on ‘Follow’ button below) and use your smartphone to read and pray with a reading or prayer of the Advent season on your way to work (or on your PC when you get there – during your lunch break, of course!)
  • Make time – maybe once a week – to pray with the Lord’s Prayer, which will be the special focus of the newsletter during the season of Advent. Why the Lord’s Prayer? Wait and see…
  • Make family time to pray together on the first Sunday of Advent, and when the Christmas tree is put up, and the family Crib. Prayers for each of these events will be in the newsletter over the coming weeks. The Advent Prayers will be next week; the Christmas Tree blessing and Crib blessings will be in the newsletter on the 6th December (so you might like to plan putting up the Tree and any other Christmas decorations after that date – in fact you might like to wait until after December 17th which is when the Liturgy of Advent shifts its focus to preparation to celebrate the birth of Jesus).
  • Make an extra effort to give support to those in greater need. Our parish Christmas crib collection this year is for the St Chad’s Sanctuary, supporting families in need in Birmingham. Perhaps you can save loose change during Advent ready to bring to the crib collection at Christmas.

In these ways – or others – do keep Advent.

And what is Advent all about? Here’s a nice summary of Advent from  Martin Foster of the National Liturgy Office.

Advent is a time of waiting, conversion and of hope:

  • waiting in memory of the first, humble coming of the
    Lord in our mortal flesh; waiting prayerfully for
    his final, glorious coming as Lord of History and
    universal Judge;
  • conversion, to which the Liturgy at this time often
    refers quoting the prophets, especially John the
    Baptist, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at
    hand” (Mt 3:2);
  • joyful hope that the salvation already accomplished
    by Christ (cf. Rm 8:24–25) and the reality of grace
    in the world, will mature and reach their fulness,
    thereby granting us what is promised by faith, and
    “we shall become like him for we shall see him as
    he really is” (John 3:2).

cf Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy96

Have a good Advent – it’s the best preparation for a good Christmas. And remember Christmas is more than the day, it ‘s a season, and a season that reminds of how precious and purposeful life is intended to be..