Without a doubt, the Advent wreath is the most popular Catholic devotion among families during Advent. Parents and children gather together for meals and light the candles each night. As a new candle is lit each week, families can get even more excited about the anticipation for the coming of Christmas.
One of the keys to making this devotion helpful especially for kids is adding a reminder of what, exactly, we have to get excited about.
How can we, as parents, make remind our kids that Jesus is the reason for the season?
How can we remind our kids of the real meaning of Advent and Christmas?
How can we remind ourselves about what we should be meditating on during Advent?
If you are like our family, you probably have a few short booklets or books nestled in your Advent wreath. These little daily devotionals for families, many of which are written by CatholicMom.com contributors and CatholicMom.com Book Series authors, act as amazing reminders of the importance of Advent. The short reflections and readings make lighting the Advent wreath a meaningful practice and a prayerful experience.
This year our family added an additional practice to our Advent wreath lighting.
We started praying the Angelus.
The Angelus is a Catholic devotion that is normally said three times a day: at dawn, midday, and dusk. Those times correspond quite well with December breakfast, lunch, and dinners—the same time in which we are lighting our Advent wreaths. It makes perfect sense to pray the Angelus during the lighting of the candles.
I started praying the Angelus four years ago. Our associate pastor at the time gave a talk to my students during a religious education session I was leading that really moved me. He introduced us to the Angelus, which was a prayer I had only vaguely known about and never tried. From that Advent until now, I have been praying it daily and inviting my wife and kids to join me too.
Probably the biggest lesson I have come to realize in praying the Angelus is that practicing a devotion with memorized prayers on a daily basis can have an unexpected effect on you.
I found that the more I prayed the Angelus, the more the words of the prayer echoed in my mind throughout my day.
- I found myself discovering unexpected angels in my day.
- I recognized the presence of the Holy Spirit in creative practices.
- I found ways to become a servant (a handmaid) to others.
- I became more open to God’s will in my life.
- I found myself looking for God’s presence all around us dwelling in the people and experiences I came across each day.
The thing about the Angelus and other Catholic devotions with repetitive prayers is that you start to live what you pray without even realizing it.
So, why add the Angelus to your Advent wreath devotion?
Because you will reinforce and ingrain in your family’s minds and hearts exactly what we are meant to meditate on during Advent.
By praying the prayer together, the entire family is active and participating in the devotion. The kids (especially kids that can’t read yet) are doing more than passive listening. They are speaking, praying, and responding.
I believe you will find, as we have, that the Angelus gives you something to think about during Advent. It will help you to truly prepare your mind and heart for the Incarnation and the coming of the Lord.
If you are interested in learning more about the Angelus or about why Advent is the perfect time to pray the Angelus, I hope you will join me and hundreds of others at AdventAngelus.com.
There you will find a community of others committed to praying the Angelus too, plus the opportunity to get periodic meditations to help you go deeper in your Angelus devotion.
And just in case the devotion is new to you, here are the words of the prayer:
- The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
- And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with Thee;
Blessed art thou among women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death. Amen
- Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
- Be it done to me according to thy word.
Hail Mary. . .
- And the Word was made flesh.
- And dwelt among us.
Hail Mary. . .
- Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
- That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray: Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Copyright 2016 Jared Dees