The Fourth Week of Advent approaches. We have hopefully made some attempts this season to turn our hearts more to Jesus and the coming miracle. But if you have fallen short, take heart you still have a full week to utilize our spiritual preparation for Christmas. Let me offer you two simple but profound ways you can reflect on the miracle of Christmas this week. Reflecting on the gift of the Incarnation and its long anticipated promise of a Redeemer will surely get you into the spiritual position to adore this Christmas.
Reflect on that first Christmas night
Sacred Heart is hosting its First Living Nativity
on Friday, December 23 from 3-9 pm.
What better way to reflect on Christmas than to celebrate with a Living Nativity? It was St. Francis of Assisi in Greccio, Italy on Christmas Eve in 1223 whose profound devotion to the Christ Child led him to recreate the scene of Christ’s humble birth.
St. Francis proclaimed his reason for making the first nativity scene:
“I want to do something that will recall the memory of that Child who was born in Bethlehem, to see with bodily eyes the inconveniences of his infancy, how he lay in the manger, and how the ox and ass stood by.” (First Nativity)
It was the first time a Nativity scene of any kind had been used. The devotion experienced that night started an ongoing Catholic tradition that is now found in Churches, homes, and soon on the ground of Sacred Heart.
Come witness this hands-on reflection with your family! Volunteers are still needed, please contact Mel Dressel at The99SH@gmail.com to get involved.
Reflect on the Old Testament Messianic titles
The “O” Antiphons is a liturgical tradition dating back to the early centuries of the Church. They are sung during Evening prayer but can also be prayed by families or used for private reflection. There are seven antiphons, and they are prayed from December 17 until December 23. Each verse proclaims the coming of Christ expressed through Old Testament hopes and using a different title of Jesus. This reflection will guide your heart closer to the long awaited coming of the Savior of the world!
December 17 – O Sapientia
O Wisdom of our God Most High,
guiding creation with power and love:
come to teach us the path of knowledge!
December 18 – O Adonai
O Leader of the House of Israel,
giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai:
come to rescue us with your mighty power!
December 19 – O Radix Jesse
O Root of Jesse’s stem,
sign of God’s love for all his people:
come to save us without delay!
December 20 – O Clovis David
O Key of David,
opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom:
come and free the prisoners of darkness!
December 21- O Oriens
O Radiant Dawn,
splendor of eternal light, sun of justice:
come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the
shadow of death.
December 22 – O Rex Gentium
O King of all nations and keystone of the Church:
come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!
December 23- O Emmanuel
O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law:
come to save us, Lord our God!
Suggestions on how to pray with the “O” Antiphons:
Pray then discuss at dinner, around the Nativity scene, or the Christmas tree
Make simple ornaments to hang on the tree or decorate your prayer area
Read more detailed reflection on the “O” Antiphons at this article.
Reflect on the beauty that The first letters of the titles (in Latin) are taken backwards form a Latin acrostic of “Ero Cras” which translates to “Tomorrow, I will be there”, mirroring the theme of the antiphons. (Let’s Sing)
May your family have a very blessed Advent season as you reflect on the coming birth of the Savior!
“O” Antiphon quotes retrieved from https://www.usccb.org/prayers/o-antiphons-advent
Let’s Sing quote retrieved from https://godspacelight.com/2015/12/17/lets-sing-the-o-antiphons/
Author: Laura Stephens