With Advent beginning this Sunday, Nov. 29, the Advent wreath frame — the first messenger of the season, has been retrieved from the “Christmas Closet.”
After dusting the wreath frame off, it rests on the library table in the living room awaiting its star turn this weekend when it will be perked up with fresh greens clipped from the nearby woods and decked out with three purple candles and one pink taper.
Brother Pete took on the task of locating another household treasure – the book of “Catholic Household Blessings & Prayers” so we could search out an appropriate blessing for the wreath.
To be sure you can find anything on the Internet. So if you look up Advent blessings and prayers, you’ll find a pleasant sufficiency. But there’s something special about books of prayers that makes the adventure of finding just the right one really pleasurable.
And, the all time family favorite in our house is “Catholic Household Blessings & Prayers” from the Bishop’s Committee on Liturgy of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. We wouldn’t start Advent without it.
Pete located the book in his room where he’d been checking out various prayers.
The blessing that appears here is from the updated, 2007 edition.
BLESSING OF AN ADVENT WREATH
The Advent wreath is made of four candles and a circle of branches. Before the first candle is lighted, the household gathers for this blessing.
All make the sign of the cross. The leader begins:
Our help is in the name of the Lord.
Who made heaven and earth.
The leader may use these or similar words
to introduce the blessing.
In the short days and long nights of Advent, we realize
how we are always waiting for deliverance, always
needing salvation by our God. Around this wreath, we
shall remember God’s promise.
Then the Scripture is read:
Listen to the words of the prophet Isaiah:
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
Upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom
a light has shone.
You have brought them abundant joy
and great rejoicing.
(The family’s Bible may be used for an alternate
reading, such as Isaiah 63:16-17 or Isaiah 64:2-7.)
The reader concludes:
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
After a time of silence, all join in prayers of
intercession and the in the Lord’s Prayer.
Then the leader invites:
Let us now pray for God’s blessings upon us and
upon this wreath.
After a short silence, the leader prays:
Lord our God,
we praise you for your Son, Jesus Christ:
he is Emmanuel, the hope of the peoples,
he is the wisdom that teaches and guides us,
he is the Savior of every nation.
let your blessing come upon us
as we light the candles of this wreath.
May the wreath and its light
be a sign of Christ’s promise to bring us salvation.
May he come quickly and not delay.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord.