What are the "O Antiphons", you might ask? According to the USCCB, the Church has been singing the "O" Antiphons since at least the eighth century. They are prayed from December 17-23. They are a magnificent theology that uses ancient biblical imagery drawn from the messianic hopes of the Old Testament to proclaim the coming Christ as the fulfillment not only of Old Testament hopes, but present ones as well. Their repeated use of the imperative "Come!" embodies the longing of all for the Divine Messiah. For more detailed reflections - including videos with music - on the O Antiphons, click HERE.
The use of the Advent Wreath is a traditional practice which has found its place in the Church as well as in the home. The blessing of an Advent Wreath takes place on the First Sunday of Advent or on the evening before the First Sunday of Advent. When the blessing of the Advent Wreath is celebrated in the home, it is appropriate that it be blessed by a parent or another member of the family. Click HERE for more info.
The use of the Christmas tree is relatively modern. Its origins are found in the medieval mystery plays that depicted the tree of paradise and the Christmas light or candle that symbolized Christ, the Light of the world. Click HERE for more info.
In its present form the custom of displaying figures depicting the birth of Jesus Christ owes its origin to St. Francis of Assisi, who made the Christmas crèche or manger for Christmas Eve of 1223. The blessing of the Christmas manger or nativity scene may take place on the Vigil
of Christmas or at another suitable time. When the manger is set up in the home, it is appropriate that it be blessed by a parent or another family member. Click HERE for more info.
We invite you to reflect on the journey that brought Mary and Joseph to the stable—and to call to mind all those communities around the world that continue to encounter poverty in their own daily journeys: www.crsfairtrade.org/advent