Tomorrow marks the beginning of one of my favourite seasons of the church calendar: advent, the four weeks leading up to Christmas.
I love the symbolism of light and darkness inherent in this time of year. I love the invitation to long and wait for what is not, held by the promise that it is coming (which is what advent means in the Latin root). I love going out by the river with Amelie and cutting sprigs of evergreen, rosehips and other red twigs and berries to make our advent ‘wreath’, sticking them all into pieces of oasis studded with four unlit candles. And then I love lighting one more candle each Sunday – if we remember! – and seeing the light grow as we near Christmas.
Below is a simple prayer I wrote a few years back for the lighting of the first advent candle. Please use it with your family if you like it! And, you never know, I might even manage to post some more prayers for future advent Sundays…
As our nights grow longer and our days grow shorter,
as winter stretches ahead of us and warm days seem so far away,
we look on these evergreen branches as signs of the spring that will come
and on this candle as a symbol of the light we long for.
In these dark days, we wait for the light of Christmas,
Jesus Christ, who is Light and Hope.
We look for his light to come again into the dark places of our world,
into the shadows of our own hearts and lives,
and we say:
Come, thou long-expected Jesus.
We wait for you in darkness
and we long for your light to brighten our way
and lead us into life and truth.