Advent is the name of the season where we get ready to celebrate Christmas. As well as buying presents and decorating our homes, Christians use this time to think of Jesus as 'God with us' in the journey of our life - and to honour Mary, his Mother.
Prayer for lighting the Advent Candle
(This prayer can be used either in church or at home for lighting your candle)
Ever present God
You were with Mary and Joseph
on the road to Bethlehem;
may Jesus our Emmanuel journey with us
as our way, our truth and our life
(The candle is lit)
God with us,be our companion and our light.
Dduw sydd wastad yn bresennol,
Buost gyda Mair a Joseff
Ar y ffordd i Fethlehem;
Boed i Iesu ein Hemanŵel deithio gyda ni
Fel ein ffordd, ein gwirionedd a’n bywyd.
(Goleuir y gannwyll)
Dduw gyda ni,
Bydd ein cydymaith a’n goleuni.
Advent Carol for the week
Gabriel's Message by Sting
The Christmas Journey
Mary and Joseph's Story
Joseph and Mary, riding a donkey, had travelled on a long slow journey to Bethlehem to pay their taxes. The time had come for Mary to have her baby. They were unable to find any where to stay. A kind inn keeper gave them shelter in a stable.
Are you going away for Christmas? Perhaps family or friends are coming to stay with you. Travelling at Christmas can be exciting. It can also be frustrating with traffic queues, nowhere to park and lots of people. It must have been a bit like that for Mary and Joseph only they didn't have buses, trains and cars. They walked to Bethlehem from Nazareth a distance of about 80 miles. The average person could walk up to 20 miles a day but Mary’s baby was due anytime and it is unlikely that she would have been able to manage to go as far. It is said she rode on a donkey, but that’s not very comfortable when you are pregnant either. Because their journey took so long it might explain why there was nowhere to stay in Bethlehem when they arrived.
Because people walked everywhere on dusty dirt roads, washing feet became an important part of everyday life and something you might do to honour your visitors. This week, as we think of the journey of Mary and Joseph and also to help at home during a very busy week you could clean a pair of shoes for a member of your family and think of the journey to Bethlehem.
Advent events around the Diocese
If you have any events, concerts or carol services taking place or any other activities in your parish which you would like to advertise or share with us please send details to us via our vision email address: firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to include them in next week's advent page.
For information on events taking place around the Diocese this Advent and Christmas please visit our events page here.
‘The Time is Now’ is a well produced Advent Calendar for thinking people. It is a daily video with a reading, message and some thought provoking questions. You can follow it alone, with a friend or in a group. http://www.rzim.eu/thetimeisnow It is presented by Amy Orr Ewing from RZIM (Ravi Zacharias International Ministries).
'The Nativity' DVD - first shown on the BBC in December 2010, written by Eastenders scriptwriter Tony Jordan. You can see part of the show on Youtube by following this link. The full DVD can be purchased on Amazon.
Posada - The idea of travelling crib sets comes from an old Mexican tradition. Posada was the tradition of young people dressed as Mary and Joseph travelling from house to house asking for a room for the night and telling people about the imminent arrival of Jesus in the weeks leading up to Christmas. On Christmas Eve they would visit the local church to re-enact the nativity and place figures of Mary and Joseph in a crib. Modern day Posada uses nativity figures of Mary and Joseph who travel from place to place. this gives each 'host' the chance to create their own celebration in their home or place in the community, worshipping and reaching out to their communities with the real message of Christmas, making room for Jesus in their lives.
Messy Church - Advent and Christmas: See a range of ideas (Advent Candles, Messy Nativity, Nativity Sheep Trails, The Gingerbread Nativity - and more) by visiting the Messy Church website.
'Talk Talk for Christmas and New Year' is written by Lucy Moore and Jo Cox and produced by The Ugly Duckling Company. Table Talk is a game to get people talking about the big issues in life; the Christmas and New Year version is an all age resource. It costs £25.00 and is available from their website.
Haphazard by Starlight - An anthology of poems and reflections, one a day from Advent to Epiphany. (2013 SPCK)
Do Nothing . . . Christmas is Coming: An Advent Calendar with a Difference by Stephen Cottrell in 2007. 'Do Nothing to Change Your Life' encouraged us to nurture our inner slob. Now 'Do Nothing . . . Christmas is Coming' turns to what, for many, is the busiest time of year. Published by CHP, you can see more about this here.
Unapologetic by Francis Spufford - A great book for your Christmas stocking! Published by Faber and Faber, read more about it on their website including a video of the author talking about the book.