by Sr. Maria Grace Dateno, FSP
Advent is a fun time of year. As Christmas comes closer and closer, we get to count down the weeks and days with Advent wreaths and Advent calendars. Since Christmas is really about whose Birthday it is, we think about the way people prepared for Jesus 2,000 years ago. And we remember that we are now preparing for Jesus to come again.
Let's make this Advent a journey with the saints! For each week of Advent, we'll meet a saint who shows us something about how to get ready for the coming of the Lord. (You can use the prayers when you light each candle of the Advent wreath with your family.)The other weeks introduced Mary, the Mother of Jesus, Saint John the Baptist, and Saint Elizabeth.
First or Second Week of Advent (whichever includes December 6)Saint for the Week—Saint Nicholas
We celebrate the feast of St. Nicholas on December 6. For people in some parts of the world, gifts are given on this day instead of on Christmas day.
St. Nicholas lived about 1,700 years ago, so we don't know a whole lot about his life. We have many stories and legends passed down through the years, though. Nicholas was the bishop of Myra (which is in the country we call Turkey today). He was known for secretly giving money and gifts to the poor.
As you light the first purple candle pray this Psalm together:
To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
Show me your paths
and teach me to follow;
guide me by your truth
and instruct me.
Activity: To be like Saint Nicholas, try to find some ways you can secretly be kind to members of your family during Advent. Maybe you could fold some clothes or take out the trash without being asked. Or perhaps you might hang up a jacket left around. . . .
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From "Advent Wreath Prayers—An Advent Adventure with the Saints" by Sr. Maria Grace Dateno, FSP, catholicchristmas.com, originally published in My Friend Magazine, December 2003. Copyright © 2003, Daughers of St. Paul. Used by permission of Pauline Books & Media, 50 St. Paul's Avenue, Boston, MA 02130. All rights reserved.