Preparing together for the coming of the Lord
This year Advent comes at a particularly difficult time in many countries and many families are suffering. We would like to suggest some simple ideas for the Advent season to prepare ourselves to live this beautiful time of Christmas in the best possible way. Let us watch and pray, let us become guardian angels!
As a couple, through exchange and prayer
Every week, set aside time for yourself (perhaps an hour, and at least 20 minutes) in a place where you will not be disturbed (children in bed, mobile phone off).
First, one of you speaks for 5 minutes, continuously. The other person listens without interrupting, does not ask questions or make comments. Then you change, the second person speaks for 5 minutes, and so on. Then you continue to exchange normally…enter a good communication time as a couple!
You can start with a topic such as: “What is on my mind right now? How did it go?” Choose together the question for your next meeting. For example, “What is my best memory of Christmas?”
Prayer: “Watch and Pray”
Do you want to go further and choose to watch through prayer? We suggest you pray with the text of Isaiah 35, 1-6, or the texts of the day of your Christian community. Choosing to stop and pray is always a challenge. Read the advice of St Ignatius and a proposal for prayer as a couple here.
In the family
The Advent wreath and its four candles
At the beginning of Advent, there is nothing like creating an Advent wreath together and lighting one candle at a time each week.
- The first candle symbolises the forgiveness granted to Adam and Eve.
- The second is the faith of the Patriarchs in the Promised Land.
- The third is the joy of David celebrating the covenant with God.
- The fourth is the teaching of the prophets announcing a reign of justice and peace.
So, at Christmas, with its four candles already lighting up your home, you will be ready to welcome the beautiful light of Jesus on earth.
To prepare your wreath here is a video explaining the process. You will need the following materials:
- Clothesline (or metal hangers)
- Pair of scissors
- Pine cones or equivalent
- Decorative objects
- Fancy ribbon
- Candle holders
- All-substrate adhesive
- Fir branches or equivalent
The guardian angel
In order to enter more deeply into this heart-warming vigil proper to Advent, you can invite each member of the family to be the “guardian angel” of another member of the family, drawn by lot… That is to say, it is a matter of watching over your protégé, of doing him or her good by small discreet attentions and of praying for him or her.
Family Christmas Prayer
Each week at family prayer, after lighting the candle, take up each theme one after the other in the Advent progression: forgiveness, faith, joy, and peace.
“Lord Jesus, thank you for calling us more and more to welcome you into our lives, our family.
You who are the Light of the world and who knew how to make yourself small, come and walk with us to make forgiveness, faith, joy and peace grow among us.
We entrust ourselves to the intercession of Mary your mother on this journey.”
Choosing hope: Forgiveness
- Take 2 minutes of silence and ask the Holy Spirit to show me who I should ask for forgiveness, especially in the family. Write a note and give it to him or her, or spend some time with him or her.
Choosing hope: Faith
- Write down or draw (for the little ones) a wish of hope and encouragement for the person whose guardian angel I am, on a paper star (prepared in advance for each person) and offer it to him/her.
Choosing hope: Joy
- Take 2 minutes to ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten me: what has been a joyful moment for me this week? Share it out loud in one sentence.
Choosing hope: Peace
- Choose a gesture that I would like to make or give (a caress, a kiss, …) to my neighbour on the right and receive a gesture that my neighbour on the left will offer me, as a sign of peace. To keep peace even in the midst of suffering, absence, fear…