Children’s Advent Prayer
Today is December 1st and I’m calling it Winter Wednesday. The feasting of Thanksgiving is behind us (although my mom just gave me more leftover turkey yesterday!), Black Friday sales are over, Small Business Saturday gave way to Cyber Monday online shopping and on to Giving Tuesday. In the midst of all that, Advent began on Sunday and I’m just getting to posting this on Wednesday… but that’s kinda how my days and weeks often go. I imagine there are a few of you playing catch up too.
I LOVE Advent! For those of you who are unfamiliar or anyone who needs a little refresher, advent is the beginning of the liturgical year for Christians and begins four Sundays before Christmas. Each week as Christmas draws near, we are invited to prepare ourselves for however Christ will come to us this year, and I have found it to be a little different with each year and season of life. We are asked to savor the waiting, to find stillness and light lots of candles. Who can resist that in the midst of the frenzy of the season? So today on this ordinary Winter Wednesday, I’d like to share a couple prayers that you may enjoy using in the days and weeks ahead.
For children, these weeks leading up to Christmas can seem challenging as the anticipation of presents and celebrations seem much too far off. When my own children were very young, I found lighting the candle of our homemade advent wreath each night before dinner was a way to quiet the noise of the worldly holiday focus. They loved watching the candles get smaller and smaller, wondering if the shrinking purple taper from the first week would make it all the way to Christmas. (NOTE: sometimes it didn’t and I had to replace it or blow it out early to preserve the wax and wick). I still have an advent paper prayer card from their preschool days that we used for years, even as they got old enough to help light the candles and take turns reciting the prayer. I thought this simple Advent activity might inspire young families now or in the days to come to take a few quick minutes before a family meal to find some stillness. No worries if you do not have an advent wreath, four candles will do. But if you are looking for a holiday activity or just curious about the tradition, a quick google search will offer all the meaning behind the candles, their colors and a variety of how-to videos on making your own simple advent wreath.
The prayer begins the same with each week with the first line below, but adds a new hope or intention for each week as Christmas grows closer. Here’s how it goes: