North County Outreach Initiative
HOLY FAMILY CATECHESIS
An Advent Tradition
Two thousand years ago in Bethlehem, the world received a very important gift. God the Father sent His Son, Jesus to earth to be with us and to show us the way to live in His Heavenly Kingdom. Every year, dedicated Christians, prepare their hearts to receive Christ’s coming from about December 1-25. This season is called Advent.
Advent comes from the Latin adventus meaning “coming.” The Greek word for Advent is Parousia which means “presence”. Here are several ways to experience “the coming presence” of Christ:
1. Before the first Christmas, the saints of old anticipated the coming of Christ with great expectation.
2. We experience the coming of Christ into our hearts as we believe and receive God into our whole life.
3. We experience the Presence and Empowerment of Christ when we hear His words to His disciples and receive Him in Holy Communion with God’s family,
4. We look forward to the final coming of Jesus, in person, to gather His saints as promised in His Word (Parousia).
The Advent Wreath and Candles (first started in about the 16th century) help us to remember some very important points about our faith.
The green wreath symbolizes the promise of eternal life through Christ.
The four candles represent the four Sundays in Advent.
The royal color purple or blue helps us to remember that God is restoring us and preparing us to experience life in His Kingdom even now as we await His Final Coming with Hope, Peace, Joy and His LOVE.
The pink candle reminds us of the joy of anticipation experienced with the arrival of the Christ child that first Christmas. We experience the same JOY that John the Baptist felt when he leapt in his mother’s womb, as we yield more and more to God’s reign in our lives.
A fifth candle, generally white and placed in the center of the wreath is the Christ candle and is lit on Christmas Eve in honor of His birth, and His reign in our lives
Advent can be a wonderful time of experiencing the Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love of that First Christmas as we recognize that true gift of Jesus as Immanuel, God with us, and as we live and share God’s love and kindness with others this Christmas.
PRAYER for GOD'S BLESSING ON THE WREATH
O God, by whose word all things are made holy; we offer to you this Advent Wreath which we ask you to bless; help us to use it to prepare our hearts for the great Coming of your Son, and help us to receive Him into our hearts with joy; through the same Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
We invite you to gather for Advent devotions at least once a week with friends or family. Light the candle or candles for the week. Read God’s Word from your Bible and the Prayer for each week. Share what touches your heart from the readings and prayers. Pray for one another as the Lord leads you. Extinguish the candle(s) as you carry His light in your hearts throughout the day.
First Sunday in Advent: The Candle of HOPE
Week of November 29, 2020
Read: Mark 13:26-27, 36 26 “At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds. He will come with great power and glory. 27 He will send his angels. He will gather his chosen people from all four directions. He will bring them from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens. 36 He may come suddenly. So do not let him find you sleeping. 37 What I say to you, I say to everyone. ‘Watch!’ ”
November 29 is the first day of Advent and we have started the countdown to Christmas. There are many things that people do to get ready for Christmas, aren't there? How does your family prepare for Christmas? While we are getting ready for Christmas this year, there is something very important we must be prepared for as well. Jesus promised that he would come again and the Bible tells us that we must be watching and be prepared for his return. We all know when Christmas is coming, but when will Jesus come again? The Bible says that no one knows the hour of his return. Not even the angels who announced his birth know when he will come again.
If we don't know when he is coming, how can we be prepared every day to meet Jesus face to face? What have we learned in Catechesis about how to live in God’s Kingdom? How can we show our love for God and others? It is fun and exciting to prepare for Christmas, but we must also be prepared for that day when Jesus comes again.
Today, we light the first candle of Advent. We call it the candle of HOPE Reflection: How can you share this hope-filled vision of Jesus’ second coming with a friend today?
Let’s pray: Almighty God, we love this season of Advent. We love the preparation for the celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We are filled with HOPE knowing that he is coming again. Help us to be prepared for His final coming in the Parousia! Help us to share this HOPE-filled vision with others. In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, AMEN