Advent: What Are We Waiting For? — Some Resources for Jump-starting Your Observance

3 Dec

 

Advent Prayer

by Henri J.M. Nouwen

 

Lord Jesus,

Master of both the light and the darkness,

send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.

We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day.

We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us.

We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom.

We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence.

We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light.

To you we say, “Come Lord Jesus!”

Amen.

 

Orthodox Christian author Matthew Gallatin has claimed that we in America have traditionally celebrated the Christmas season in a backwards fashion. He writes: “Just as the guest of honor walks through the door, it’s all over.” Wow! Ain’t that the truth! It is my hope that I might be of service in helping you, my reader, and others to rise above the crass commercialism surrounding the business world’s countdown to Christmas by helping you find ways to enter as deeply as possible into the mysteries of this sacred season of Advent. As I have already indicated, I hope to provide a series of resources to assist you in doing just that. Here are a few general but important ones on the internet that I think you might like:

For those of you who might want a simple and even folksy introduction to the meaning of the Advent season, I suggest you visit an article entitled “Advent Introduction: What is Advent? Why Does It Matter? How Can We Celebrate It?” at this link: http://blog.beliefnet.com/markdroberts/pages/advent-introduction.html

If you are interested in a more detailed explanation of the meaning, including an overview of the history of the season of Advent, here is an excerpt from a book by a Benedictine monk named “Abbot Gueranger, O.S.B:  http://www.internetpadre.com/christmas/history_of_advent.html

Prayer and the reading of scripture are two the most important practices for entering into the spirit of Advent. Here are some excellent general resources to get you on your way:

  • The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has created a new site with many resources for helping you and your family pray your way through Advent. They have even included an online Advent calendar wherein each door opens to a new web page containing lectionary readings and prayers for the day:  http://www.usccb.org/advent/advent_index.shtml . You can also find at this site a printable booklet in PDF form called “Advent and Christmas with Pope Benedict XVI” with excerpts from his homilies accompanied by scripture readings and prayers. There is a different entry for each day of Advent and Christmas. This booklet is available for download at this link: http://www.usccb.org/advent/AdvChr.pdf .
  • If you are a little hurried, or just like things relatively short and sweet, a community of Irish Jesuits have provided their own online Advent Calendar that is not only inspiring, but is visually pleasing, appearing in the form of an animated Advent Wreath. Each day once again opens to a link to the lectionary readings of the day, accompanied by a brief but inspiring devotional and prayer. They even set it up so you know what day to click to get your inspiration! Check it out here: http://www.ciadvent.ie/2010/wreath.php

That’s it for today, but I’ll return tomorrow with some more resources, including links to online Advent retreats you can take advantage for free in the comfort of your own home!

If you find discover something personally helpful here, or if you know of an online resource you’d like to share with the visitors to my blog, you are encouraged to leave a comment. Likewise, if you have an Advent devotion or practice you’ve found personally helpful, you are likewise encouraged to share that with us!

Shalom,

Tom

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2 Responses to “Advent: What Are We Waiting For? — Some Resources for Jump-starting Your Observance”

  1. Palma Adger December 19, 2010 at 1:36 pm #

    I usually get bored easily and close the tab but i think that your blog can be an exception. Grats !

    • texastom46 December 25, 2010 at 10:01 pm #

      Thank you for stopping by and taking a read, Palma. And thank you for the kind compliment. Hope you stop by again! Regards, Tom

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