Advent and Christmas Liturgies
The season of Advent is a season of joyful waiting and watching for the arrival of God to humanity. This happened once before when Jesus was born, and we look forward to the joys of Christmas. Jesus also promised to come again in power and glory, and so Advent is a time for us to reflect on our readiness to meet him on that day.
Advent is a season that you can celebrate at home as well as in church! Whether you have an Advent wreath on your dining room table or you have an Advent calendar on your wall, it's a wonderful way to bring religious observance into your home. Who knows? You might even get into the habit of praying at home throughout the year! Here are some resources to help your Advent anticipation.
Two videos explain Advent in a few minutes
The O Antiphons
Traditionally, the Magnificat, the song of Mary, is sung or said every day at Evening Prayer (just as the Benedictus, Zechariah’s song, is associated with Morning Prayer and Simeon’s Song is linked with Compline). During the last week before Christmas, there are a special little group of prayers called antiphons that you can use to wrap around the Magnificat if you pray Evening Prayer.
These are called the O Antiphons, because they all begin with “O”. If you pray Evening Prayer, try this: after the reading from Scripture, say the antiphon, and then pray the Magnificat which is on the right, and then say the antiphon again. Even if you don’t pray all of Evening Prayer, maybe you can simply prepare for Christmas by praying the antiphons all by themselves.
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.