Advent Patience Prayer
by Mary McEntee McGill
Advent is a gift. The season turns us from the busyness of holiday shopping and parties to focus on the scriptural teachings of the Messiah's coming. During this season, we remember the true meaning of the coming of the Lord and the Good News he brings to us in his presence.
Advent is a gift. The season turns us from the busyness of holiday shopping and parties to focus on the scriptural teachings of the Messiah’s coming. During this season, we remember the true meaning of the coming of the Lord and the Good News he brings to us in his presence. I do not know the author of this poem but I have loved this sentiment for years:
Though time crumbles stone and the story grows old,
the Shepherd we love still watches his fold.
And his star stills shines over city and mart
and his voice still speaks to the listening heart.
As you gather with catechists to pray this month, remind them of the gift of Advent—our guided journey to waiting patiently and prayerfully with true joy for the coming of Christmas!
You will need crèche figurines of Mary, Joseph, an inn-keeper (if available), barn animals, angels, shepherds, sheep, and the magi. You also will need the stable and the manger. These don’t need to be fancy. You or a volunteer can bring a crèche set from home.
Place a cloth and small pine branches on your table. You might want to use a small candle, but use great caution. Give each member of your group a piece from the crèche; the prayer includes time for each person to place an item on the prayer table. Light the candle and begin.
Leader: Advent calls us to prepare our hearts and souls for the coming of Christ. Advent Gospels guide us so that we are not so distracted by holiday festivities and preparations that we fail to wait with patience and joy.
Reading: “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come. Watch therefore: you do not know…” (Mark 13:33, 35).
Leader: As we pray about the coming of Christ, let us hear and respond to the Church’s call to stand apart from all the Christmas festivities so that we might remain alert—patiently, prayerfully watching and waiting for his coming.
Read the story of the birth of Jesus from Luke 2:1-16 and Matthew 2:1-12. As you read, have each person place a crèche item on the prayer table, following the mention of each item in the reading.
Advent reminds us that nothing happens fast in the coming of Jesus. Joseph and Mary travel day by day to Bethlehem. They search for a place to stay as they prepare for their baby’s birth. Shepherds hear angels and come down from the hills to see what has happened. Magi travel from far to honor this child. Nothing happens fast!
As we prepare for Christmas through these weeks of Advent, let us be patient. Let us pray as Mary and Joseph did. Make the cleaning and decorating of your home, the baking of foods, and the wrapping of gifts part of your prayer. Make it all a part of your patient waiting.
(Invite those present to share ways they patiently pray and wait during the season of Advent.)
Closing Prayer and Blessing: “For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: By waiting and by calm you shall be saved, in quiet and in trust your strength lies” (Isaiah 30:15). With God’s grace, may each of us realize a patient, peaceful, and prayerful Advent and a joyous Christmas.
Mary has professionally served parishes and dioceses for more than 40 years and continues to enjoy catechetics in Dallas, TX. She is the author of Stories to Invite Faith Sharing (Resource Publications).
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