Advent has begun. Advent, (from Latin adventus, “coming”), in the Christian church calendar, is the period of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas and also of preparation for the Second Coming of Christ. Advent is often described as a time of devout and expectant delight. Advent is also best described as a time of Waiting, Conversion and Hope!
There are lots of great Advent Resources out there and many beautiful prayers. We have include some of these below.
For the past number of years we in the Catholic Grandparents Association have been encouraging parishes to celebrate Bambinelli Sunday
The Third Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday) has for many years been the day when the children of Rome bring the figurines of Baby Jesus from their family cribs to St. Peter’s Square to be blessed by the Pope during the Angelus. The day is affectionately known as “Bambinelli Sunday.” Instituted by Pope Saint John Paul II during his Papacy, the tradition has continued and has grown in popularity across the universal Church. Children are invited to wrap the blessed figurines in Christmas wrapping when they return home, and to place them under the tree, to be opened as the first gift of Christmas; thus encouraging young children to make the connection between the gifts they receive on Christmas Day and the greatest gift that any of us can receive, Jesus; and the connection between the Nativity set at home and the local Church where they worship each weekend.
This is one of the easiest traditions to establish in a parish as the only resources needed are; families and their Baby Jesus figurines!
The following prayer was used by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI to accompany the blessing of the Bambinelli in 2008 and could be used in your parish, or you could compose a prayer of your own.
God our Father, You loved us so much you sent us your only Son, Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary, to save us and lead us back to you. We pray that, with your blessing, these images of Jesus might be a sign of your presence and love in our homes. Good Father, give your blessing to all who gather with us this Christmas, our family and friends. Open our hearts, that we might receive Jesus in joy, do always what he asks of us, and see him in those who need our love. We ask this in the name of Jesus, your beloved Son, who came to give peace to the world. You, who live and reign forever and ever.