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.
Fourth Sunday in Advent:
God’s Gift of Love
Week of December 20, 2020
Read Luke 1:26-38. (Jesus Christ), the Son of the Most High God will rule forever over his people…… what God says will always come true.” (v.33, 37)
On the fourth Sunday of Advent, we remember that 16 God so LOVED us that he gave us his one and only Son to be our savior and King. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life (John 3:16).
Today we light the fourth candle. This candle represents God’s Love for all of us. God’s mission for Jesus, His Son was to come to earth as a baby conceived by the Holy Spirit and born to the Virgin Mary. He grew to be a living example of who God is in the flesh. By his death and resurrection, he conquered sin and death for US so we can once more live in a very close, growing relationship with God now and forever.
Reflection: In remembrance of God’s gift of love, what special gift of love could you give, as a reflection of God’s image and light , to another person this Christmas?
Let’s Pray. Thank you, Almighty Father, for loving us so much that you sent your only Son, Jesus, to live, die, and rise again for us, that we might be able to live a life led by the Holy Spirit in our hearts. In your Name we pray, Amen.