Lighting an Advent wreath is a time-honored custom in the Church. The progressive lighting of the candles symbolizes the expectation and hope surrounding our Lord’s first coming into the world and the anticipation of his second coming.
Traditionally, Advent wreaths are constructed of a circle of evergreen branches into which four candles are inserted, representing the four weeks of Advent. Ideally, three candles are purple and one is rose, but white candles can also be used.
The progressive lighting of the candles symbolizes the expectation and hope surrounding our Lord’s first coming into the world and the anticipation of his second coming to judge the living and the dead.
- The purple candles in particular symbolize the prayer, penance, and preparatory sacrifices and goods works undertaken at this time.
- The rose candle is lit on the third Sunday, Gaudete Sunday, when the priest also wears rose vestments at Mass.
- Gaudete Sunday is the Sunday of rejoicing, because the faithful have arrived at the midpoint of Advent, when their preparation is now half over and they are close to Christmas. — USCCB
Countdown to Christmas: Using an Advent calendar – a special calendar with “windows” that can be opened for the 24 days before Christmas – is another way to mentally gear up for Dec. 25. By patiently opening the windows one day at a time, you build up to Christmas as a joyous feast.
Show and tell your spiritual genealogy: Decorating a Jesse Tree is another popular Advent tradition. Each day of Advent, an ornament representing key persons in salvation history leading to the birth of Christ are placed on a tree and Scripture verses pertaining to each person are read. The symbolic ornaments are traditionally handmade, and those placed on the Jesse Tree starting Dec. 17 represent the “O Antiphons” of Advent. The popular hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” is a compilation of these seven prayers set to music.
Help families in need:
Angel Giving: Be an Angel to a Family In Need
- This year for Christmas we are partnering with the Aurora Interfaith Food Pantry Hesed House and St. Vincent de Paul to assist families in need throughout the holidays. Donations will benefit those individuals who are currently receiving aide through SVDP in order to assist the families with rent and utility payments. Donations will also assist the purchase of Christmas meals through the Aurora Interfaith Food Pantry and Hesed House to benefit those families whom they currently assist.
- Parishioners may make donations via our online giving portal under “Angel Giving” or checks can also be made payable to Our Lady of Mercy with “Angel Giving” in the memo and placed inside of the bin in the Narthex after mass. Please contact Lydia Schmitt, in the main office, with additional questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or 331-707-5377.
Filling a Stocking for a Family In Need
- Visit the Ministry Room after all the Masses to grab a stocking to fill for a family in need! Stockings will benefit families receiving assistance through the Aurora Interfaith Food Pantry and Hesed House. Each stocking will come with a list of suggested items to purchase and stuff your stocking with!
- Once you have filled your stocking with suggested “stocking stuffers,” please return it to our table in the Ministry Room after any of the Sunday masses OR return it to the main office during office hours by no later than Tuesday, 12/14. Please contact Lydia Schmitt, at email@example.com or 331-707-5377, with additional questions.
Welcome to this great journey of Advent, the liturgical season of vigilance—or, to put it more mundanely, of waiting.
Waiting is very hard for most of us. I suppose we human beings have always been in a hurry, but modern people especially seem to want what they want when they want it. We are driven, determined, goaloriented, fast-moving. I, for one, can’t stand waiting. So when I’m told that waiting seems to belong to the heart of the spiritual life, I’m not pleased, for here, too, I want answers, direction, clarity–and I want them pronto.
So what sense can we make of the countercultural and counterintuitive spirituality of vigilance? The first thing we have to realize is that we and God are, quite simply, on different timetables. “To you, O Lord, a thousand years are like a day” (2 Peter 3:8). What is a long time to us is an instant for God.
Also, is it possible that we are made to wait because the track we are on is not the one God wants for us? G.K. Chesterton said that if you are on the wrong road, the very worst thing you can do is to move quickly. Maybe we’re forced to wait because God wants us seriously to reconsider the course we’ve charted, to stop hurtling down a dangerous road.
Or perhaps we are made to wait because we are not yet adequately prepared to receive what God wants to give us. Saint Augustine argued that the purpose of unanswered prayer is to force an expansion of the heart. And even if we desire with sufficient intensity what God wants to give, we still might not be ready to integrate a particular grace into our lives or to handle the implications of it.
So may we embrace the spirituality of Advent, and may we spend these holy days together waiting–in prayer, penance, and hope–for the appearance of Christ our Savior.
Bishop Robert Barron”
*Behold, I make all things new. – Revelation 21:5
Each of us carries a deep longing to be made new. That longing is a fundamental part of our humanness. We live it rhythmically as we mark the passing of time—for example, with the changing of the calendar every January. The new year often brings resolutions to become better at what matters most, to refocus, to make changes. Even though our resolutions often crumble, the repeated effort of making them speaks to our aching desire to be better and our attempts to become so.
In an even deeper manner, the Catholic faith is marked to its very core by God’s ceaseless invitation to begin anew. For the believer, each year is interwoven with the movements of the liturgical seasons, the repetition of which perpetually draws us more and more deeply into life in Christ.
In secular terms, the new year begins in January. But on the spiritual plane, our new year starts even earlier, with Advent. Advent is, in a real sense, our annual new beginning. It can and should be marked with the same drive to refocus, but on a goal beyond weight loss or picking up a new hobby.
Advent is a time to prepare for the Second Coming of Christ, as we remember the first time He came to us and see Him come to us again and again. Of all the seasons of the year, Advent offers us perhaps the clearest sense of adventure and journey. It is a season for resetting our horizon, reframing our movement toward fullness in Christ. And even though Advent is brief, it is filled with spiritual riches. Yet, because Advent falls during a busy time of year, we often rush over or even miss the treasures God places before us in the Church. This Advent page and resources we handed out is born out of a desire to lift these gifts up and hold them out to you in a way that deepens your entry into the greatest of mysteries.
We pray that these resources will help you settle down and enter into a journey that, year after year, promises to transform our lives. We really do set out on an adventure together, as a Church, every year. In this season of longing, hope, and new beginnings, let us move toward a deeper adoration of the King of kings, who comes in the quiet of the night to save us. When we engage the movements of the season, we begin to sing more fully that cherished hymn: O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.