26 Nov 2023 • Articles
Advent begins on 3rd December, and an extra candle will be lit in the traditional Advent Crown each Sunday as we count down the four weeks to Christmas Day. Finally, at Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve or on Christmas morning, the white candle in the centre of the Advent Crown will be lit to celebrate the nativity of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, being born in our world to live with us.
'O come, O come Emmanuel' is one of the most atmospheric Advent Carols. 'Emmanuel' is a Biblical name for Jesus, the Messiah. It means 'God with us' and God really has come among us, to be with us in Jesus. But we will only know that God is with us if we are with God. That is why the season of Advent is known as a time of self-examination and self-discipline, making sure that we are putting God first in our lives, not just giving him the little bit of energy that is left over after the Christmas shopping and the parties. Preparing ourselves for Christmas is even more important than preparing our shops and offices, or even our homes: without Jesus there would be no Christmas, and the joy and the jollity would all be gone.
Do the children in your family or in your street know the real Christmas story? Do they know that it is true and important even in our world today? Bring the children to the Christmas services in church so that they can learn to recognise the traditional Christmas carols and enjoy singing them, thinking about the baby Jesus. Children are always welcome in church, and many parishes have special services for young people; the children may be able to play a part in retelling the story of Mary and Joseph travelling to Bethlehem, and the shepherds and wise men visiting Jesus.
With every blessing for you as you prepare to meet Jesus Christ in your heart,