During the season of Advent, a short meditation practice will be shared for each Sunday (and Christmas Day), that is suited for use with lighting an Advent wreath. For those of you not familiar with Advent wreaths, please allow me to explain: the wreath is (usually) a circular candle holder, in which is placed three purple candles, and one rose colored candle. Occasionally you’ll find Advent wreaths that also hold a central candle to be lit on Christmas Day, but the practice consists of lighting one candle each Sunday of Advent (the pink candle being reserved for the third Sunday) until all are lit, while praying, meditating, and reading from scripture. This is often a nice practice to accompany the evening meal, but can be done at any time of day. What follows is a short home Advent pratice for the First Sunday of Advent. May Christ our indwelling Lord bless you all during this holy Advent season.
On the first day, it is appropriate to pray a blessing over the Advent wreath before commencing with the rest of the candle-lighting ritual. This does not need to be repeated on the following Sundays.
The Blessing of the Wreath
O God, by Whose Word all things are sanctified, pour forth Thy blessing upon this wreath, and grant that we who use it may prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ within, and may receive from Thee grace in abundance. Through Christ our Indwelling Lord. Amen.
Intent for the Day: Seeking the Light
Pray: In the name of the +Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
℣. O Emmanuel, Christ, desire of all people, come and dwell within our hearts. Fill us with hope in Thee.
Let us pray. O Father of us all, we pray to Thee, that as our days grow shorter, and our nights grow longer, we do always remember to seek Thee in all things. We remember that even in the darkest of nights Thou art with us, as the evergreen remains so even in the depths of winter. As we light the first candle on our wreath we remember Thy promise of old that the Christ should come among us, and bring Light to the world. We search our own hearts, and prepare them for the birth of the Christ within.
The first purple candle is lit, and O Come Emmanuel may be sung, followed by a time of personal meditation on Seeking the Light. Then follows a reading:
A reading from the Book of Sophia: Seek, all of you, after the Light, so that the power of your Soul that is in you may live. Do not desist from seeking by day and by night, until you find the purifying mysteries of the Light which refine the body of matter, and make it a pure Light very refined. Do to all who come to you, and believe in you, and listen to your words what is worthy of the mysteries of the Light. Give the mysteries of the Light, and do not hide them from them. For he who shall give life to a single soul, and liberate it, besides the Light that is in his own soul, shall receive other glory in return for the soul he has liberated.
Alleluia, alleluia. Ostende nobis, Domine, misericordiam tuam, et salutare tuum da nobis. Alleluia.
(Alleluia, alleluia. Show us, O Lord, Thy mercy; and grant us Thy salvation. Alleluia.)
(The link to the lyrics of O Come Emmanuel above contains a midi of the basic tune, but for a better idea of how it is sung, feel free to check out this YouTube video, if you’re not already familiar with this traditional Advent song.)