The Brightest Days of Advent
If you “miss” the early part of the season,
make its last week memorable with reflections, Scripture, and prayers.
The weekend after Thanksgiving began 2021’s season of Advent. Our attention will dart from carving the turkey to trimming the tree. Before we know it, Christmas Day will dazzle us. Often, somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Advent seems to come and go with minimal attention from us. We may display an Advent wreath with its four candles in our home. But do we notice the wreath and light the candles?
This year’s Advent, as sometimes is the case, has four full weeks to prepare for celebrating the merry and bright day of Jesus’ birth. It’s important to keep holiday festivities from diverting our attention from the importance of Advent. We don’t want to look back and realize Christmas has come and gone without having fully enjoyed the feast.
The Church, however, gives us a chance to make up for any lost time. Traditionally, the final days of Advent are designated as December 17–23—a cumulative transition from the soft glow of Advent to the luscious light of Christmas. If you “missed” the first several weeks of Advent, take heart! Embrace and enjoy these final days of the sacred season.
The daily Mass and the daily prayer of the Church, specifically the O Antiphons that accompany the Magnificat canticle of Evening Prayer during this time, form a crescendo of faith and love, lifting our minds and hearts to the holiness of true Christmas joy! I’ve given each day a theme, with Scripture notations selected primarily from the day’s Gospel reading. The Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Bible Revised Edition. Unless I note otherwise, the prayers are inspired by an element of tradition within the daily services of the season.