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 reflect on the way we are living our lives - and seek to become more like Jesus.
Prayer for lighting the Advent Candle
(This prayer can be used either in church or at home for lighting your candle)
by your grace
you give us hope in our darkness;
guide us as we grow into the likeness of your Son
and empower us to live and work in his name.
(The candle is lit)
God our hope,
be our guardian and our light.
Trwy dy ras
Rwyt yn rhoi i ni obaith yn ein tywyllwch;
Wrth i ni dyfu i mewn i debygrwydd dy Fab
A rho i ni rym
i fyw a gweithio yn ei enw ef.
(Goleuir y gannwyll)Dduw ein gobaith,bydd ein gwarchodwr a’n goleuni.
Advent Carol for the week
O come, O come Emmanuel by Hayley Westenra
The Christmas Journey
The Shepherd's Story
There were some shepherds in the fields watching their sheep. There was a bright light in the sky and an angel appeared who told them about the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. The shepherds left their sheep and journeyed to visit him.
We are all familiar with the story of the shepherds at the nativity, how the Angels told them of the wonderful news of the birth of Jesus and how they hurried to the stable to see him. What we may not realise is that, by using the image of the shepherds, we were being shown that Jesus had come into the world for everyone. Not just the respectable and well off but also for the poor and those whom society shunned. Shepherds were not well liked and did not tend to mix with ordinary people.
During this Advent we might think of those less fortunate than ourselves, those whom society shuts out. So this week our ‘activity’ is to do rather than to make. As a family or group of friends collect groceries and donate to your nearest food bank. The food banks appreciate smaller packs and tins as they make up food parcels and very large packs have to be split up. You might like to find out about the work of organisations such as Shelter and the work the Salvation Army do and remember these and similar groups in your prayers.
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.
Christian Aid have produced a number of resources for Advent. There are two related resources, Advent reflections and Bible Studies.
My Advent Journey is designed as a prayer resource for adults and invites contributions to the work of Christian Aid:
For children there is also an Advent Journey, a kind of interactive Advent Calendar (without chocolate!) We travel in the company of Waleed Badir, a young Palestinian boy, learning something about his life each week.
Fantastic Family Ideas for Advent activities – from Flame Creative Children’s Ministry:
http://flamecreativekids.blogspot.co.uk/'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.