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First Sunday in Advent
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Join Thom Saywell in lighting the candle for the First Week of Advent below.
Take a moment to still yourself. Take a deep breath and ask God for a renewed sense of presence with you in this moment.
Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God, the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ with righteous deeds at his coming, so that, gathered at his right hand, they may be worthy to possess the heavenly kingdom. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Sing or listen
First Reading – Isaiah 63:16-17, 64:1, 3-8
Psalm 79(80) Listen Here
Second Reading – 1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Be on your guard, stay awake, because you never know when the time will come. It is like a man travelling abroad: he has gone from home, and left his servants in charge, each with his own task; and he has told the doorkeeper to stay awake. So stay awake, because you do not know when the master of the house is coming, evening, midnight, cockcrow, dawn; if he comes unexpectedly, he must not find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake!’
Traditionally the candle for the First Sunday of Advent represents hope. It is also known as the prophecy candle, it assures us we can have hope that God will fulfill the prophecies declared in the Old Testament about Jesus. Hope doesn’t disappoint us (Romans 5:5).
A reflection on hope & the nativity scene from Pope Francis
“In Christian homes, during the Season of Advent, the Nativity scene is arranged, according to the tradition which dates back to Saint Francis of Assisi. In its simple way, the Nativity scene conveys hope; each one of the characters is immersed in this atmosphere of hope.
The place in which Jesus was born: Bethlehem.
A small village in Judea where, thousands of years earlier, David was born, the shepherd boy chosen by God to be the King of Israel. Bethlehem is not a capital city, and for this reason is preferred by divine Providence, who loves to act through the little ones and the humble. In that birthplace was born the highly anticipated “Son of David”, Jesus, in whom the hope of God and the hope of man meet.
Mary, Mother of hope.
With her ‘yes’ she opened the door of our world to God: her maiden’s heart was full of hope, wholly enlivened by faith; and thus God chose her and she believed in his word. She, who for nine months was the Ark of the new and eternal Covenant, in the grotto, contemplates the Child and sees in him the love of God, who comes to save his people and the whole of humanity.
Joseph, a descendant of Jesse and of David;
he too believed in the words of the angel, and looking at Jesus in the manger, reflects on the fact that that Child has come from the Holy Spirit, and that God himself commanded him to call [the Child] ‘Jesus’. In that name there is hope for every man and woman, because through that son of woman, God will save mankind from death and from sin. This is why it is important to contemplate the Nativity scene!
who represent the humble and poor who await the Messiah, the “consolation of Israel” (Lk 2:25), and the “redemption of Jerusalem” (2:38). In this Child they see the realization of the promises and hope that the salvation of God will finally arrive for each of them. Those who trust in their own certainties, especially material, do not await God’s salvation. Let us keep this in mind: our own assurance will not save us; the only certainty that will save us is that of hope in God. It will save us because it is strong and enables us to journey in life with joy, with the will to do good, with the will to attain eternal happiness. The little ones, the shepherds, instead trust in God, hope in him and rejoice when they recognize in that Child the sign indicated by the angels (cf. Lk 2:12).
choir of angels
proclaims from on high the great design that the Child fulfills: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased” (2:14). Christian hope is expressed in praise and gratitude to God, who has initiated his Kingdom of love, justice and peace.
Dear brothers and sisters, in these days, contemplating the Nativity scene, we prepare ourselves for the Birth of the Lord. It will truly be a celebration if we welcome Jesus, the seed of hope that God sets down in the furrows of our individual and community history. Every ‘yes’ to Jesus who comes, is a bud of hope. Let us trust in this bud of hope, in this ‘yes’: “Yes, Jesus, you can save me, you can save me”.”
Master of both the light and the darkness, send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.
We who have so much to do and seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day,
We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us.
We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom.
We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence.
We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light.
To you we say, “Come Lord Jesus!’