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.
Christmas Events around the Diocese
St Bilo's Traditional Carol Service
Sunday 22nd December at 6.30pm in St Bilo’s Church in Llanfilo
Villagers young and not so young will read the Lessons, the congregation will sing the Carols with gusto as usual, the Choir will perform specially prepared Christmas music and the piece de resistance once again will be the contribution by the Children’s Choir. There will also be mince pies and mulled wine served at the end of the proceedings.
This service is a true community event enabling villagers, their families, friends and visitors alike to gather together in the true spirit of Christmas. For more information please visit the event page here or contact David Lloyd by email at email@example.com.
Brecon Cathedral Christmas Eve and Christmas Day ServicesChristmas Eve
3.30pm - The Crib Service - for children of all ages led by the Dean
5.30pm - Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
8.00am - Holy Eucharist
11.00am - Festal Cathedral Eucharist led by the Bishop
6.00pm - Festal Plainsong Evensong
For more information on any services in your area please contact your local priest or visit our events pages here.
Our previous Advent pages can be found here:The First Week of Advent - StillnessThe Second Week of Advent - GrowingThe Third Week of Advent - Wonder
If you would like to send in some of your useful Advent, Christmas or Epiphany resources then please email them to our vision email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prayers for lighting the Advent candle can be downloaded here for the whole of Advent in both English and Welsh.
'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.
'The Bible' on Channel 5 - Click here to visit the Channel 5 website. You can see a preview of the first episode here (NB there are some adverts). For additional, free resources for churches see the Bible Society website.
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.
'Table 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.
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.