As Advent approaches, Catherine from our Theology team shares some ways to help you mark this season of waiting, hope and expectation.
I love Advent, with all the preparation and anticipation of this season.
As soon as December starts, the rest of the world seemingly goes Christmas-mad. The celebrations start. But I like taking time to remember the hope that this season brings, to prepare for the light that is coming into the darkness, and to watch and wait for the main event
In Advent we are preparing to celebrate the birth of Christ, but also waiting for Christ who will come again. Even though we don’t know quite when that will be.
Throughout all the festive hustle and bustle, I try to hold on to the idea then, that we are still journeying. We have not yet quite reached our destination. To me, waiting seems to make Christmas all the more exciting when it finally arrives. When we can finally celebrate with joy at the birth of Christ.
There are a few things that help to keep me grounded during this season and which are ideal ways to hold on to its true meaning:
1. Advent calendar
We provide daily reflection emails throughout the Advent season, based on the scripture readings of the day. These offer an opportunity to pause, think and pray as well as to look outwards to the world around us. Each reflection also offers us a way that we can consider putting our faith into action, inspired by what we have read.
2. Family prayers
As a parent of a five-year-old and a seven-year-old, I am always looking for activities to keep them amused, as well as to keep them in touch with their faith. Our family prayer resources offer a mixture of creative activities and ideas to mark the season, as well as to introduce a moment of family prayer into this busy time.
3. Advent prayers
At Advent, I remember the words of Pope Francis in Laudato Si’, “The Lord comes that we might find him in this world of ours.” (#236) Our Advent prayers can help guide our prayer time during this season, as we wait with joy for the Lord, the hope of the world.
4. Fun runs
The Advent season also provides us with the chance to give to others. This includes our sisters and brothers around the world. At CAFOD we have two FUN run events for you where you can enjoy some exercise while doing good to others!
One is the Nativity Fun Run on 10 December at Clapham Common.
The other is the Christmas Fun Run on 27 December in Liverpool, Bollington (near Macclesfield) and online.
5. Carols, mince pies and the Nativity
One of the aspects of Advent that I enjoy most is the carols, mince pies and the nativity plays. CAFOD has resources for these wonderful traditions and would especially like to encourage people to get outdoors and sing in the community. We have a carol sheet, and a guide to singing outdoors, so you can share the message of Christmas and raise funds to support our sisters and brothers around the world.
Whatever way you choose to mark the Advent season, I hope you will find hope, peace and joy, as you prepare for Christmas.