Advent – Latin word meaning “coming”

Advent is the season of preparation to celebrate of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas as well as the return of Jesus at the second coming.

In churches, during the four Sundays of Advent, the readings and prayers concentrate on preparing congregations for the coming of Christmas. Often on Advent Sunday, the Sunday closest to November 30, there is a special service called an Advent Carol service where the readings and carols lead us from the darkness of the sin of Adam, through all the prophesies in the Old Testament which tell of the coming of the Messiah, to a climax at the great moment where Mary agrees to be the mother of Jesus and her great prayer, the Magnificat (a hymn of praise) is sung. Some churches erect a Jesse tree, which is an evergreen tree on which are hung symbols of Jesus from the Old Testament. For example, the Messiah was often described by the prophets as a lion of Judah, so the symbol of a lion is hung on the tree. More common however is for churches to have (as we have in Ballygall) an Advent wreath. This is a circle of evergreen branches which symbolises that life is eternal. The wreath is often tied with purple ribbon as purple is a colour associated with repentance in the Christian church and during the season of Advent Christians are encouraged to repent of their sins in order to be ready to welcome the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day. On the wreath there are four candles. One candle is lit on the first Sunday of Advent, two on the second Sunday, and so on until all four candles are lit on the Sunday before Christmas. In the past, the season of Advent was marked by fasting and great solemnity, as a symbol of repentance and as a means of preparation for the great celebration and feasting which was to take place at Christmas. Nowadays however, for many people this season has got “lost” in the rush and hectic nature of the lead up to Christmas which has become a material, as well as spiritual festival.

ADVENT SERVICES IN OUR GROUPING

Advent – All Peoples Shall Come to Your Light:  Join Carol Barry from the Margaret Aylward Centre for Faith and Dialogue, Holy Faith Sisters, Old Finglas Road, Glasnevin, D11 TC21 as she leads a Tuesday morning series offering the opportunity to slow down, to pause and ponder the treasures of the Christmas mystery.  Tuesdays in Advent  4  & 11  December from 10.00am – 12.00 noon.  Cost is  €45 and booking essential email: info@macfd.ie

Faith, Hope and Love: Glasnevin Parish invites you to journey with them through Advent as we prepare for the coming of Christ. On Tuesday 11 and 18 December please drop into Our Lady of Dolours Church, Glasnevin between 6.00-6.30pm for reflections, music and silence.

Annual Advent Penance Service with the Franciscans will take place here in Ballygall on Wednesday 19th @ 7.30pm

Blessing of Advent Wreath
Lord God,
Your Church joyfully awaits the coming of its Saviour.
Who enlightens our hearts and dispels the darkness of ignorance and sin.
Pour out your blessings upon us as we light the candles of this wreath;
May their light be a comfort to those who suffer today,
May their light give us hope in these dark days
May their light reflect the love of Christ who is Lord, for ever and ever. Amen.