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A Scriptural Advent Wreath

How do you keep watch for the Lord?

Most Catholics are familiar with the Advent wreath. You may want to observe this custom with your group. (If fire laws do not allow lighting candles, make a paper flame from construction paper. Include a round paper "base" that you can tape around the top of the candle.) Read a short verse of Scripture for each new candle that you light. Here is a suggested ritual:

Leader: To prepare for the coming celebration of the birth of Christ, we will light our Advent wreath each week. Purple or violet is the color of dawn. When we see the purple dawn, we know that day is coming soon. The purple color of Advent tells us that Jesus, our Light and Sun of Justice, is coming soon!

To begin the ritual each time, say first:

Leader: "More than watchmen wait for dawn, let Israel wait for the Lord." Lord Jesus, as we wait to celebrate your birth at Christmas, help us prepare to receive you more deeply into our hearts.

Then read the Scripture verse and light the candle for that Sunday, and the previous Sunday's candles if any.

First Sunday of Advent:"May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we have for you, so as to strengthen your hearts." (l Thessalonians 3:12-13)

Second Sunday of Advent: "'Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.'" (Luke 3:4)

Third Sunday of Advent: The rose candle, the color of joy, is lit. "Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near." (Philippians 4:4-5)

Fourth Sunday of Advent: For now his greatness shall reach to the ends of the earth; he shall be peace." (Micah 5:3-4)

Imagining the

What do you imagine what the great day when Jesus comes to judge the world will look like? What signs of his coming might there be in the heavens and on the earth? (Jesus gives us several clues in today's gospel.) Make a drawing or create an art strip that illustrates the Great Day. Show what you hope you will be doing on that day.

NOTE: Point out that we can make these hopes "come true" by living each day as though it might be the final day. For example: Our family doesn't let TV take away from the time we spend together.

Celebrating God's Word

This celebration centers on the giving of a Bible, the Word of God, to each participant. Advent is a time of beginning and a good time to encourage the reading of the Scripture.

Leader: We have come together to ask God's blessing as we receive our copies of the Bible for the new liturgical year. We will hear readings from the lectionary (the book containing sections of the Bible arranged for each day of the year) in church at every Mass during the coming liturgical year.

As I call your name, come up and receive the Holy Scripture. To each person, the leader says: "_____________, receive this Bible. Remember to open it each week and listen faithfully to God's word." After each person has received a Bible:

Leader: Let us stand for a reading from the gospel.

Reader: A reading from the Gospel of Luke. (Reads Luke 8:19-21.) This is the gospel of the Lord.
All: Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Leader: Help us, 0 God, to listen as you speak to us each week, we pray:
All: Lord, hear our prayer.

Leader: Help us, 0 God, not only to be hearers of your word, but to be doers of your word, we pray:
All: Lord, hear our prayer.

Leader: Help us, 0 God, to follow Jesus, your Son, more closely each day, we pray:
All: Lord, hear our prayer.

Leader: May we always rejoice in being brothers and sisters of Jesus as we hear and do his word, we pray:
All: Lord, hear our prayer.

Leader: Let us conclude our prayer with the prayer our Savior taught us. Our Father. . . .

(An appropriate song may also be sung.)

Unique Advent Wreaths

Make unique Advent wreaths with the children. Explain that this is one tradition of the Advent season. During the four weeks of Advent, we light the candles on the Advent wreath as a reminder that Jesus is coming.

On half of a sheet of white construction paper, have children make a green thumbprint circle using paint or a stamp pad. This circle of green reminds us that God's love for us never ends.

Add three purple candles and one pink candle to the green circle. Have children dip their entire pointer finger in paint or on a stamp pad to make the candles. Each week of Advent, have children "light" one candle by dipping a fingertip in yellow paint or on a yellow stamp pad and printing this on the top of the candle. As these candles are lighted, we are reminded that Jesus is the Light of the World.

An Advent Wreath Song

As the children light the candles each week of Advent, sing the following song to the tune of Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush.

Advent is the special time, the special time, the special time.

Advent is the special time, we wait for Jesus’ coming.

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