Advent & Christmas Seasons

Happy New Year!  New Year?! Don’t we mean Advent? Well, technically both are appropriate! Each year at the Vigil Mass for the First Sunday of Advent (this year November 26th) the Church ushers in a new liturgical year with the start of Advent and the blessing and lighting of the Advent Wreath, signaling that Christ is coming as the Light of the World, “and the darkness shall not overcome it.”  In this season, marked by quiet, hopeful expectation we remember what the Church teaches us.

“When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior’s first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 525)

With many in southwest Florida suffering from the effects of Hurricane Ian, we pause in this season to bring to mind that Jesus is the Light of the World. He cannot be overcome by person or circumstance.  He is the Light that comes to dispel the darkness in us individually and as a culture.  He is not a mere abstraction, but He is with us in the daily grind and activity, grit and gristle of life.  He is Emmanuel, “God with us”.  He is “God with us” in our joys, in our sorrows, in our hopes and fears, in our sufferings, and yes, in all the broken, hurting, disheveled aspects of our lives and of us personally.  And His Love, Incarnate Love, is within it all…through prayer, in our families, and even physically in the Most Holy Eucharist – God with us in the flesh!

The resources listed below are intended as aides to help us enter into these four weeks of Advent and to prepare well for the great day and season of Christmas. A blessed Advent and Christmas Season to you…oh, and Happy New Year!

Resources for a fruitful Advent & Christmas Season!

Click here for a list of Christmas Mass times in the Diocese of Venice.

For a list of Advent and Christmas Notable Days, click here.

For Advent season resources from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), click here.

For Christmas season resources from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), click here.

Online, interactive Advent Calendars (from Loyola Press)

Advent Calendar (English)

Calendario de Adviento (Spanish)

Advent Calendar for Kids (English)

Calendario de Adviento para niños (Spanish)

Advent Prayer:

Jesus, the season of Advent reminds us

that sometimes we have to wait.

We wait for God’s will to be known.

We wait for His will to be done.

We wait for answers when our Father’s

will is unclear and unfulfilled.

Help us, Jesus, always to trust in You.

To be confident of your love for us.

To have faith like your Mother,

the Blessed Virgin Mary.

To await the blessed hope

of your arrival in our hearts each day;

of celebrating your birth as we will

in the approaching Christmas season;

of your return in glory.  Amen.

Christmas Prayer (courtesy of the USCCB):

Gracious Lord, Child of Bethlehem, As you were born into a family who fled to Egypt as refugees, help us grow in solidarity with refugees everywhere, to know we are all refugees, until our hearts find refuge in you.

As you were born under an oppressive regime, let us grow in solidarity with those whose governments deny them their rights and try to undermine their dignity. Help us work for just governance everywhere.

As it was workers, the shepherds, who first came to know you, the carpenter’s son, let us remember the dignity of human labor— that you share a special love for those who work hard for their sustenance, and toil beside them.

Let us honor you, in work and in prayer, that livelihoods may be secure, and that workers not be exploited.

As you were adored by the Magi who came from far-off nations to honor you, let us bring to all nations the great good news that is your love.

As your coming was joyfully sung by angels, let us with joy celebrate the gift of life every time a child of God is conceived, and honor that gift with our care.

As you were denied any birthplace but a stable, help us to open our homes, our lives, our hearts to the coming of God and his presence in your people.

Be born this time into our hearts, dear Lord. Gracious Lord, Child of Bethlehem, through the cradle of our hearts, be born into our world.

Used w/ permission from Archdiocese of Indianapolis, Secretariat for Worship and Evangelization