Without a doubt Advent is my favorite time of year. The decorations, music, baking, twinkling lights and anticipation turn me into a little girl again each and every year. Admittedly, without proper planning Advent can also be the time in which I can most easily lose sight of the true meaning of the season. It’s hard to keep my heart and mind focused in this preparing season amid the bright lights, shopping and distractions. It’s easy to rush through the four weeks lighting the proper candle each week and race to the Christmas finish line.
But wait! Was my heart ready for the birth of the King? It hardly seemed it was.
What seemed to help me realign my intentions was creating Advent traditions with our family. Our favorite one begins each year on November 30, the feast of St. Andrew. This year will mark the seventh year when we’ll gather around the table each evening, light the candles and pray the simple prayers. Once again, I don’t doubt that it will calm and soothe my soul to pray for both the simplest and also the weightiest intentions on my list this year.
The novena prayers are prayed fifteen times daily from November 30 to Christmas. Our family was gifted with St. Andrew chaplets made by a friend several years ago. They consist of a cord of fifteen knots and a cross, looking similar to a rosary. The tradition of the novena is to pray for any particular intentions on your heart. I found out when we began this novena and were walking our own road of secondary infertility that St. Andrew is also the patron saint of those desiring to conceive. Do you know of a couple who could use your novena prayers for this intention?
Perhaps there are other intentions close to your heart this Advent. Carry them with you in these waiting weeks, light your Advent candles and pray fifteen times:
Hail and blessed be
the hour and moment
in which the Son of God
was born of the
Most Pure Virgin Mary
at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold.
In that hour
vouchsafe O My God,
to hear my prayers,
and grant my desires,
through the merits of
Our Savior, Jesus Christ
and His Blessed Mother. Amen.
Do you have favorite Advent traditions to walk you through this beautiful season? Can you find one way this year to make this a new season of anticipation as you await Jesus’ birth? Consider joining my family this Advent and praying your way to the manger. May He bless these upcoming weeks for you with Hope, Faith, Joy and Peace.