Sunday of the second week of Advent
Lighting the Way for Peace
The Gospel on this Sunday in Advent is from Luke, and in it we hear the words of the prophet Isaiah “A voice of one crying out in the desert: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The winding roads shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’” Lk 3:4-6. It might not be obvious then why the candle this week symbolizes peace, especially to the children in the pews.
We are being called during Advent to prepare ourselves for Christmas. That means there is work to be done. No doubt, you are engaged in all kinds of tasks to prepare for Christmas at this point in the year. Perhaps you are bringing all the festive decorations out of storage, wrestling with a tangled ball of Christmas tree lights, wrapping a pile of presents, or planning the dinner menu for Christmas. If you are anything like me, the to-do list must be completed before you will be able to enjoy your celebration fully.
Yet, the most important preparations we should be focusing on during Advent are our spiritual preparations. Some of us might take advantage of an Advent penance service, while others renew their commitment to daily prayer. No matter how you prepare yourself spiritually for Christmas, you will surely feel peace when the work is complete. As an Auntie to four kids under the age of 5, I’ve been thinking about how little ones can understand Advent and not get lost in the excitement of Santa and stockings.
I remember getting chocolate-filled Advent calendars as a child and being so focused on the treat on the other side of the window that the concept of preparation was lost entirely. My attraction to the Advent calendar was “what am I going to get” and not “what will I do.” When my eldest niece was 3, she began to ask her mother about the Advent wreath on the kitchen table, and my sister installed an Advent Tree in their dining room. After bath time every evening in Advent, my sister gives each of her little ones a specially numbered ornament for them to hang on the Advent Tree. As a family, they count down the days until Christmas and day-by-day work to decorate the tree in the dining room. Despite the occasional arguments over who’s turn to hang the ornament or what spot to put it in, my niece and nephews are learning how to prepare for Christmas in an age-appropriate way.
How do you help the little ones in your life during Advent find peace as they prepare for Christmas?
Through the darkness, I look for your wisdom.
I want my heart to be open to you.
But sometimes in these days, it seems that
so many things come between us.
Help me to be awake and aware
of the radiance you bring to my life.
Help me to be grateful each day
for the blessings of family and friends.
Let me be a peacemaker
in my own life, and in the world.
Let me pray especially for this difficult world
and those who are so in need of an end to violence.
My heart begs for this as my Advent prayer today.
May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
SOURCE: Creighton University Online Ministries
As part of the Advent celebration we have included a prayer for the weekly Advent wreath candle lighting. Make this part of your family Advent practices. Light the second candle of the wreath after saying the special prayer below.
Prayers for Lighting the Advent Wreath Candles
God of power and mercy open our hearts in welcome. Remove the things that hinder us from receiving Christ with joy so that we may share his wisdom and become one with him when he comes in glory, for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen