Home Prayers for Advent

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1 Home Prayers for Advent the Annunciation [look at how Mary flinches!] St. Stephen s Episcopal Church Orinda, CA

2 How to use this booklet This booklet contains a simple service which may be used by individuals or families during the season of Advent (the four weeks before Christmas). The service is written to accompany the lighting of the candles of an Advent wreath. You are free to use them any way you like, as often as you light the candles so hopefully at least once a week and in whatever way fits your home practice of prayer This simple service includes readings from the Bible which emphasizes the theme of the new life that God is bringing into being. The weeks before Christmas are spent in hopeful anticipation of Jesus again entering into our lives as a little baby, and this prayer booklet seeks to acknowledge of our own work of actual preparation to receive Jesus. We have the opportunity to reflect on the real implications of Advent preparation in the bible and how those principles are reflected in our own lives. Finally, the service concludes with song, the Lord s Prayer, and a closing collect. We hope this service is helpful in bringing some of the joy and hopefulness of Advent into your home this year. Opening Recite the opening sentence together, and light the candles! In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. (Isaiah 40.30) Scripture & Reflection Invite one person to read aloud this week s scripture, and then take some time (in discussion with your prayer-mates, or in a journal) 2

3 1st week of Advent The prophet foretells Isaiah 43:18 21 Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The wild animals will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches; for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself so that they might declare my praise. Reflection: When was the last time a big new thing happened in your life? How did you prepare for it? Were you ready for it when it started? 3

4 2nd week of Advent The Angel visits Mary, the Annunciation Luke 1:26 38 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you. But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God. Then Mary said, Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word. Then the angel departed from her. Reflection: Has something ever felt impossible, and then later actually happened? How was it to grapple with the fact of the impossible becoming possible? What had to shift in you to allow for the new possibility? 4

5 3rd week of Advent The Song of Mary, the Magnificat Luke 1: And Mary [f] said, My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. 50 His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. 51 He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. 52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; 53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever. Reflection: This passage is a statement of praise from Mary following immediately after the angel announces that she s pregnant with Jesus. What was a time that you were conscripted for The Cause [or, volun-told as it were]? Did you find a way to appreciate the job, even if you didn t want it initially? 5

6 4th week of Advent John the Baptist & Jesus Matthew 3:1-12 In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near." This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, "The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.'" Now John wore clothing of camel's hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins "I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire." Reflection: John the Baptist was sent ahead of Jesus to prepare the way for Jesus and his work. How can you prepare the way for Jesus in your own life, in your family, in your community, in your school, with your friends? What needs to happen to be ready for Jesus to make way into your life? What do you need to take on? What do you need to leave behind? 6

7 Lighting the wreath Week one: verses 1&2; week two: verses 3&4; week three: verses 5&6; week four: verses 7&8 7

8 Prayers Join hands (or not) and say together the prayer that Jesus taught us: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen. Concluding Prayer Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. Extinguish the candle(s) until next time. 8

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