Dinner Prayers for the First Part of Advent
Alexander, Andy, S.J.
Waldron, Maureen McCann
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Text from the first half of "Dinner Prayers"The First Part of Advent has a special feel to it. Unlike the rest of the Liturgical year, the readings don't focus as much on the Gospels as they do the first readings. Those readings, many from Isaiah, talk of people who walk in darkness and of the light that shines; of hope in the gloom and of a God who loves us and wants to walk with us. (More on the Two Parts of Advent.)For those in the Northern Hemisphere, the wintry light matches the readings. The days are short and the kitchen windows reveal the darkness outside by dinner time. How perfect that a symbol of the season is the Advent wreath, with its four candles for the four weeks. We watch as the increasing number of glowing candles on the wreath reflect the growing light among us.These are prayers for those dinner times, when the words don't always come, when we are too busy to create something ourselves and even the beloved traditional words don't seem to fit the occasion. Special Note: This is also the time to be creative, not guilty. If we don't often gather as a family because dinner time is hectic with activities, create a new tradition and make it a before-bedtime ritual to light a candle and say a few prayers reflecting on the day that has ended. Or if morning works better, start the day with Advent prayers holding in our hearts our hopes for the day ahead and lighting the Advent candle over breakfast. If I am alone in my home, I can create my own ritual, knowing that I am joining with Christians around the world in this sacred season. There is not a single right way to do any of these prayers and rituals — the point is to have some brief period in the day to focus our intentions on Advent, to feel the hopes and promises of our God for us and for this day. These prayers are a starting point. Feel free to re-write or adapt them so they work best in your situation.