A widespread tradition that began in the home, many churches now have an Advent Wreath, with a ring of evergreen crowned with candles which are let on successive Sundays during Advent. Why not make one for your own home and use it as a focus of prayer each Sunday - or even each day, perhaps at meal times or before bedtime?!
The Jesse Tree
The Jesse Tree is, in effect, the family tree of Jesus, with each symbol representing someone who is either part of Jesus' family line or who prepared for his coming in some way. It recounts the way that God has engaged with his people, from the beginning of the world to the coming of Christ.
This Advent celebration originated in Latin American countries but has, in many adapted forms, become widespread in many other countries and provides a lovely way to prepare for Christmas as an image of Mary and Joseph travelling to Bethelehem is passed from house to house.
There are some lovely feasts to celebrate during Advent: from St Lucy to St Nicholas, as well as the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. (On the nearest Sunday to St Lucy's day, we plant the Christmas Wheat seeds, which will sprout and grow in readiness to be presented at the Nativity scene in church (as well as at home)
Advent and Christmas Charitable Giving
Our Christmas charity is Huggard which works with the homeless of our city, and we continue to collect food items for Cardiff Foodbank.
We hope these prayers will offer some help for you in your time of pain and sadness.
Here you will find
prayers of comfort and assurance,
prayers that help to express anger or hurt or pain,
prayers to strengthen and console,
prayers, too, for your departed loved one and to commend them to God.
May the love of God
and the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ
and gently wipe away every tear from our eyes.
And may Almighty God bless us,
the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Lord, in our grief we turn to you.
Are you not the God of love
always ready to hear our cries?
Listen to our prayers for (insert name)
whom you have called out of this world.
Lead him/her to your kingdom of light and peace
and count him/her among your saints in glory.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayers of Trust
in darkness and light,
in trouble and in joy,
help us to trust your love,
to serve your purpose
and to praise your name;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen,
hear our prayers and comfort us;
renew our trust in your Son,
whom you raised from the dead;
strengthen our faith
that (insert name, and) all who have died
in the love of Christ
will share in his resurrection;
who lives and reigns with you, now and forever. Amen.
Prayers of Hurt and Anger
you know our hurts and share our sorrows.
We are hurt by our parting from (insert name) whom we have loved:
when we are angry at the loss we have sustained,
when we long for words of comfort,
yet find them hard to hear,
turn our grief to truer living,
our affliction to firmer hope
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Father, the death of (insert name)
brings an emptiness into our lives.
We are separated from him/her
and feel broken and bewildered.
Give us confidence that he/she is safe
and his/her life complete with you,
and bring us together at the last
to the wholeness and fullness of your presence in heaven,
where your saints and angels enjoy you for ever and ever. Amen.
When Lonely or Afraid
Risen Lord Jesus,
draw near to us as we walk this lonely road.
Pierce our weary sorrow
and gladden our heavy hearts as you go with us,
and bring us in the end to your heavenly table. Amen.
whose Son Jesus Christ said,
“Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid”,
take away our fear of death;
bring us to the place that he has gone to prepare for us;
and give us his peace for ever. Ame
Advent is a beautiful season of the Church,
full of awe and wonder, although it often gets squeezed out
or overlooked by early Christmas celebrations!
In the northern hemisphere, the Advent season takes us deep into the heart of winter. In past generations, winter brought the risk of starvation and the very real danger of illness and sickness. Transport became difficult, sometimes impossible, with frozen tracks or waterlogged roads. There was much preparation to be made in order to win the winter battle and to arrive unscathed at the signs of spring and new life.
The decrease of daylight and the deepening darkness stirs the church to prayer: the bleakness of December can naturally cause us to yearn for signs of hope. In its scriptures, psalms, prayers and songs of Advent the church shares in much of the natural and very human yearning for light and life, for hope and salvation, for survival and well being, health and wholeness. Is it any wonder that the world outside the church cannot wait to begin their celebrations prematurely?
However, the Christian community looks above and beyond the natural world and pays close attention to the voice of the prophets (to Isaiah, Jeremiah, John the Baptist and, most importantly, Jesus) who, together, announce God's reign.
Good listening requires stillness, attentiveness, patience, disciplined waiting and the disposal of distractions which is reflected in the often sombre nature Advent takes and the restraint of certain signs of celebration.
The scripture readings during Advent are filled with images of God's glory and might, his power and majesty, and we, his people, are filled with awe and wonder, trepidation and fear. 'The Lord is coming; go out to meet him.' There is a sense of urgency!
There is a penitential atmosphere during Advent but it is not to be confused with that of Lent. Our need for penance during Advent comes from the message of Jesus to 'Keep Watch' and to be ready to welcome him when he comes as judge of the living and the dead: prayer and penance, then, is not an option! However, it is balanced by the call to 'Rejoice' and to look forward with expectancy and anticipation for the coming of the Lord. Penance and praise go hand in hand!