In Expectation of Our Lord First Sunday of Advent Advent Prayers “Almighty God, grant us the will to greet our Savior with our good works when He comes, so that we may be worthy to be on His right hand and possess the kingdom of heaven.” ~from In Conversation with God, Daily Meditations, Volume One: Advent […]
November 30 is the feast day of St. Andrew the Apostle. St. Andrew was the very first disciple called by Our Lord, and he is the one who got his brother, St. Peter, to become Jesus’ disciple too. We all know how the rest turned out.
The feast day of St. Andrew also marks the end of the liturgical year and the beginning of the new one on the first Sunday of Advent.
Advent is known as “little Lent,” and prayer, alms, and sacrifices are an important part of the season. To help children participate in the true purpose of Advent (rather than treating it selfishly as a countdown to getting their presents on Christmas day), a visual teaching aid is most helpful.
For each small sacrifice or good deed done by a child during Advent, a piece of straw is added into the manger or creche. On Christmas day the Baby Jesus figure is placed inside the creche, and the prayers and sacrifices symbolized by the pieces of straw have added up to prepare Him a comfortable place to rest. This visually symbolizes the room for Jesus that we have prepared in our hearts by making sacrifices and doing good deeds for others.
Advent is the beginning of a new liturgical year for the Roman Catholic Church. On the first day of Advent, which begins this year on December 1st, the Church celebrates its New Year’s Day. The date for the beginning of Advent falls each year on the Sunday closest to November 30th – the feast day of Saint Andrew the Apostle.
The Kneeling Santa was made popular by Christians who want to harmonize the love children have for Santa Claus (the popular rendition of the historic St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children) with the true meaning of the Advent and Christmas season—the birth of the world’s savior, Jesus Christ. If you’re looking for that combination of American culture and tradition without sacrificing deeper religious reverence, the Kneeling Santa collection is for you.
Does it seem to you that each year the holiday season gets busier and busier, and we get further and further away from the true meaning of the Advent and Christmas season?
The best way to combat this tendency is to adopt or renew Advent traditions in the home. Whether you are single, a busy parent with kids, or empty-nesters, you can celebrate Advent like you are actually anticipating the coming of Christ—which is the whole point. It’s a spiritual journey!
Prayers for the faithful departed pleases God, who makes use of our prayers to help purify these souls that He loves. It is an act of charity that we can give for those we have known and loved, for our ancestors who gave us life, for those souls whose memory is lost, and for those who have no one else to pray for them.
Here are some ideas for praying for these suffering (and often neglected) souls, especially during the month of November dedicated to their memory:
For many Christians, Advent Wreaths are a favorite way to celebrate the month of December leading up to Christmas Day. Even though Advent Wreaths are popular among Christians, many are not aware of the rich meaning and symbolism embedded in the tradition. If we learn this meaning, we can appreciate it all the more!