Chocolate coins and Advent light

Whilst Ava waits in the wings with the anticipation of lighting the rose candle next Sunday, Seb was more than happy to take his turn at this Sunday’s lighting of the Advent wreath.

Beneath the evergreen ring, sits a bowl of incense, a symbol of our prayers rising through the gateway between heaven and earth, as we raise our eyes to heaven and the coming of Christ.

Eternal God, as the days shorten and the evenings draw swiftly in we light a candle to enlighten our minds and stir our hearts so that he of whom the prophets spoke may find us watching and waiting to welcome him, the Light of the world, for he is Lord forever and ever.  Amen.

A PRAYER FOR THE LIGHTING OF THE CANDLE ON THE SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT

The joyful simplicity of our Advent worship is enriched by the wreath, and the daily delights of adding a symbol to the Jesse Tree which, on Christmas Eve, adorned with the symbols of our salvation story, is illuminated and crowned with a star. But that’s all to come! Advent is about waiting and anticipation after all.

The Jesse Tree transformed into the Christmas Tree – but we have a few weeks before it looks anything like this!

Santa Claus

Meanwhile, with St Nicholas being subdued today by the Second Sunday of Advent, we gave thanks for his life and ministry at the end of Mass, and blessed and distributed small bags of gold chocolate coins for the children – although some adults managed to get their hands on a coin or two, too!

St Nicholas is, of course, the provenance of Santa Claus, and an important Advent saint. One story associated with his life involved a poor man with three daughters.  Unable to provide a dowry for his daughters meant they were unable to get married and so destined to be sold into slavery.

On three occasions a bag of gold appeared in their household: tossed through the window and landing in stockings or shoes left at the fireside to dry.  This led to the tradition of children leaving stockings for St Nicholas to fill with gifts.  A symbol of three gold balls, coins, money bags or sometimes oranges or apples are used to represent St Nicholas.

God our Father, the light of Christmas is breaking upon the horizon, the night time gives way to the coming of your Son into the world. Bless us and all who receive these coins. May they remind us of the generosity and kindness of St Nicholas and the help he eagerly gave to those who were in trouble or need. Help us to use our gifts to create a world of peace and love. May we be signs of hope in a world of despair, shining beacons of light where darkness overshadows. We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

A PRAYER FOR THE BLESSING OF COINS ON ST NICHOLAS’ DAY

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