Welcome to Day 22 of our Advent Calendar
Season of Advent
Today is the Fourth Sunday of Advent. Advent is the four-week season before Christmas during which we prepare for the coming of Christ. The word Advent comes from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming”. The season of Advent is a time of waiting, conversion and of hope, which has a twofold character as:
- A time of preparation for the Solemnities of the Christmas season, in which the first coming of the Son of God to humanity is remembered; and,
- A time when – by remembrance of this – our minds and hearts look forward to the Second Coming of Christ at the end of time.
For these two reasons, Advent is a period of devout and expectant delight.
Our digital Advent calendar is a helpful resource for our ‘journey’ towards Christmas. Each day, by clicking on a virtual door, we are inviting you to take a few minutes to avail of our resources to rediscover the true meaning of Advent and Christmas.
Advent Message from Archbishop Dermot Farrell, Diocese of Dublin
The O Antiphons
The “O Antiphons” refer to the seven antiphons that are recited (or chanted) preceding the Magnificat during Vespers of the Liturgy of the Hours. They cover the special period of Advent preparation known as the Octave before Christmas, December 17-23, with December 24 being Christmas Eve and Vespers for that evening being for the Christmas Vigil.
The exact origin of the “O Antiphons” is not known. Boethius (c. 480-524) made a slight reference to them, thereby suggesting their presence at that time. At the Benedictine abbey of Fleury (now Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire), these antiphons were recited by the abbot and other abbey leaders in descending rank, and then a gift was given to each member of the community. By the eighth century, they are in use in the liturgical celebrations in Rome. The usage of the “O Antiphons” was so prevalent in monasteries that the phrases, “Keep your O” and “The Great O Antiphons” were common sayings. We might conclude that in some fashion the “O Antiphons” have been part of our liturgical tradition since the very early Church.
The importance of “O Antiphons” is twofold: Each one highlights a title for the Messiah: O Sapientia (O Wisdom), O Adonai (O Lord), O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse), O Clavis David (O Key of David), O Oriens (O Rising Sun), O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations), and O Emmanuel. Also, each one refers to the prophecy of Isaiah of the coming of the Messiah.
O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse)
O Root of Jesse’s stem,
sign of God’s love for all his people:
come to save us without delay!
Advent Prayers for Christmas Eve
Today the Church celebrates the Fourth Sunday of Advent. We light the last candle on our Advent wreath and our preparation for Christmas is almost finished.
Let’s Be Family – Our Prayer Intentions for the Day to Pray Together
1. For the poor, the hungry, the unemployed, for people without homes,
and all those still struggling to recover from natural disasters.
2. For the Church: that this Advent and Christmas may be a time marked by simplicity, calmness and quietness
as we wait in hope and wonder for Jesus who is present in our lives now and whose future reign is coming.
Prayers for peace for our fellow Christians in the Holy Land
As we approach Christmas, the time when we celebrate the coming of Christ into our world, Bishops ask for prayers for peace for those in conflict anywhere in the world. Bishops prayed for, and extended solidarity to, our fellow Christians in the Holy Land. Bishops ask for prayers for all Christians around the world who are persecuted and murdered because of their faith.
This year we are introducing our ‘Kids’ Corner!’ Each day of Advent you will find fun activities for children to enjoy and learn more about the Season of Advent! Print out the picture below and colour it in however you like!
To print: click on the link below to open a new page, then select “print” to print out the page for colouring.