When you put up your Christmas tree this Advent, pray this blessing together as a family or household before turning on the lights, asking that it all who delight in it may come to knowledge and joy of salvation.
It’s one of the paradoxes of Christianity that we find life in death, freedom in captivity, patience in action. For St John of the Cross, his time in captivity was a period of intense growth. John didn’t just endure and suffer but spent his time meditating on the things of Heaven. His life and action serve as a guide for us.
On Christmas Eve, it is traditional to gather your household together and pray this blessing over the nativity scene.
According to legend, St Lucy was the daughter of a wealthy family who was brought up as a Christian, and, having resisted the advances of a pagan suitor, was arrested, tortured and killed. Her feast, situated near the shortest day of the year, is celebrated in Sweden and elsewhere as a festival of light.
Reflect on the Mass readings for the Third Sunday of Advent with this extract from our book Prepare the Way of the Lord.
Who is this man Jesus? And why is there a continuing fascination with him even when many people think Christianity is in decline? The basic facts of his life are agreed by most historians. This is not just mythology or Christian propaganda. We’ve got more hard evidence about the life of Jesus than we have for almost anyone in the ancient world.