Home 9 Resource 9 Making Traditions | Celebrating the Season of Advent

Resource from

Isabella McCafferty

Published on

November 20, 2020

This is a version of the Adsumus Sancte Spiritus* prayer which was set to music and prayed during the Opening Liturgy for Synod 2021-2023 for the Diocese of Palmerston North.

A recording from this liturgy is available above and the words and chords are provided below for use in parishes.

I really love traditions, seasons and celebrations. Advent is no exception and as a season it gets me extra excited because of the anticipation of Christmas, the summer holidays and the end of the year.

One of the reasons I love establishing and celebrating various traditions is that they set the backdrop for making memories. Traditions too are something that get passed down between generations, they have the ability to become part of the identity of a family and they are also central to us a people of faith. 

As the year draws to a close and everything seems to happen at the same time, celebrating advent with your whānau may get lost in all the things to get done and events to get to.  

We’ve put together a few (probably familiar) traditions that you could make special this year. They might be things you’ve been doing for a long time, yet there might be new ways to bring them to life in your own place during this season. 

These traditions help us to focus on the real ‘reason for the season’ and bring to life the stories of faith that have been passed on for generations. As this crazy year comes to an end, may we find joy in the gift of advent and the promise of Jesus’ birth that we anticipate. What’s your favourite advent tradition?  How will you celebrate this year?

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Traditions set the backdrop for making memories... they help us focus on the real 'reason for the season'.

Five Advent Traditions for your whānau

Light a candle each week

The Advent Wreath is a tradition which has found its place in the Church as well as in the home.

Usually, three candles are purple and one is rose, but white candles can also be used. The progressive lighting of the candles symbolises the expectation and hope surrounding the advent season. Different prayers can be prayed each week as you light the candle, beginning with a blessing of the wreath on the First Sunday of Advent.

Make your own Jesse Tree

This is another tradition you might be familiar with from your parish. Why not have one at home?

A Jesse tree helps us connect the custom of decorating Christmas trees to the events leading to Jesus’ birth. The ornaments of the Jesse tree tell the story of God in the Old Testament, connecting the Advent season with the faithfulness of God across four thousand years of history.

Make your own set by courtesy of Sripture Union NZ.

Celebrate St. Nicholas Day

Each year December 6 marks the Feast of St. Nicholas. In Eastern European and Germanic Countries this day is celebrated with special traditions. For us too this day provides an opportunity to learn more the “true Father Christmas” and focus on giving more than receiving. It also provides a bit of special festivity in the waiting of Advent and offers a spiritual element to gift giving.

Set up a Nativity Scene

Even though the Nativity is one of the most recognised traditions, this year might provide the opportunity to learn more about its history and make it a central part of your home during Advent.

Have you got your own set? If so, you might want spend some time reflecting on the significance of it. If not, you could look into finding one of your own. Both Pleroma Christian Supplies and Manna Christian Stores have a wide range to choose from both online and instore.

In 2019 Pope Francis said that the “nativity scene is like a living Gospel rising up from the pages of sacred Scripture.”

Pray this Weekly Advent Retreat

After a year of challenges, changes, suffering, isolation and social distancing, perhaps there’s never been a more important time to reflect on the Incarnation; to reflect on God’s incredible plan to draw as close as possible to us, by becoming one of us. 

Sessions are produced by ‘Pray-as-you-Go‘ in collaboration with ‘Sacred Space‘ last about 20-25 minutes will be released week by week. 

Music to celebrate the season

We’ve put together a playlist of songs to guide you through this time of preparation and anticipation. 

In a season where Christmas songs tend to fill the speakers of malls and shops from late-November, it can be easy to avoid music at this time. 

However, this year you might like to be more intentional about the music that you listen to. This playlist provides some suggestions of songs that can help lead into prayer in the Advent Season. 

 

Countdown to 1st Sunday in Advent

Day(s)

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Hour(s)

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Minute(s)

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Second(s)

E te wairua tapu, we stand before you gathered as one in your name. 
(repeat)

With you alone to guide us
Make yourself at home in our hearts
Teach us the way we must go
and how we are to pursue it.

E te wairua tapu, we stand before you gathered as one in your name. 
(repeat)

We are weak and broken
Don’t let us pro mote disorder
Save us from our ignorance
and may our actions be unbiased.

E te wairua tapu, we stand before you gathered as one in your name. 
(repeat)

Let us find in you our unity
journeying with you to eternal life.
Let us not stray from the way
of truth and what is right.

E te wairua tapu, we stand before you gathered as one in your name. 
(repeat)

All this we ask of you e te Wairua Tapu
who are at work in every place and time.
I te Kotahitanga o te Matua, me te Tamaiti, mo āke āke.

E te wairua tapu, we stand before you gathered as one in your name. 
(repeat)

Music: Mass of Christ, Light of Nations (Tony Alonso)
Copyright 2016 GIA Publications All Rights Reserved

*Every session of the Second Vatican Council began with the prayer Adsumus Sancte Spiritus, the first word of the Latin original meaning, “We stand before You, Holy Spirit,” which has been historically used at Councils, Synods and other Church gatherings for hundreds of years, being attributed to Saint Isidore of Seville (c. 560 – 4 April 636).  As we are called to embrace this synodal path of Synod 2021-2023, this prayer invites the Holy Spirit to work within us so that we may be a community and a people of grace.

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