There is a common misunderstanding that Advent is all about preparing for Christmas. From advent calendars that are used to sell anything from beer to tea to toys, to warnings that there are only so many shopping days ‘til Christmas, our culture has absorbed the season of Advent as one big countdown.
But actually , the Christian season of Advent is a time of preparation – not baking cookies and wrapping presents (though those are great things to do!), but preparing ourselves to watch and wait for the arrival of Jesus Christ. Advent is also a time of anticipation where we start with the future, looking forward to the second coming of Jesus and the eternal reign of God is coming, and end with the past, celebrating the Messiah born in Bethlehem.
Even though we cannot gather together at this time, there are many ways we can still pray and worship together, despite being physically apart. Bishop William continues to offer an online Sunday Communion service which can be found at the Diocese of Brandon YouTube channel and you can find uploads on the Henry Budd College YouTube channel and Facebook page.
We have prepared this booklet for you to use on Sundays for prayer and worship at home. Bishop William Cliff has provided the Sunday prayers so that we can all pray together though we are apart. We also incorporated an adapted Advent Candle lighting liturgy that some of the northern churches use every Advent. It is based on the traditional teachings of the Four Directions. These readings focus on the four life stages the directions represent – child, youth, adult, and elder and connect them to Advent related themes.
At the back of this booklet, we have also included a section on the “O Antiphons”, Scriptures and prayers for the 7 days before Christmas, focused on seven prophetic titles of the Messiah from the Hebrew Bible. We have also included the Gospel readings for every day in December, if you want to use them for reading, meditation, or Gospel Based Discipleship with your family or household
If you’re able, create a little Advent corner in your home – all you need is 5 candles, one for each Sunday in Advent and a centre candle for Christmas, reminding us that Christ is our centre. The candles are placed in the shape of a wreath or a circle, and they are often surrounded by evergreens, so you could pick some pine, spruce, or cedar and create an Advent refection space in your home.
If you need any assistance or have questions, please contact Henry Budd College – firstname.lastname@example.org or 204 623 3311.