Friday, December 1, 2017

Advent 2017




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L’Arche Brisbane                                                                    Advent 2017             

‘Waiting’
Now is the time of year when we begin a time of waiting and preparing for Christmas.   
In the Christian Church, this time of waiting and preparation for Christmas is called Advent.
Advent means "coming". We wait for God's coming in the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day.

It is a time to journey with ourselves, within our hearts.
It is a time to journey with other people in our community
It is a time to journey with other people from around our world.

Much of the time, when we wait, it is open ended. We wait for justice. We wait for healing. We wait for situations to change.
This season of waiting and anticipation is one in which longings of the heart come sharply into focus.

The hardest thing about waiting is not knowing when it will end, and if it is going to end. Waiting brings questions without easy answers.

The waiting and anticipation that comes with Advent is enjoyable because it is finite. We know that what is coming at the end of our wait will be good, and we know exactly how many days we have left to wait. However this time of waiting can be extended into an undefined waiting time, when we can pray for expressions of God’s Kingdom, such as hope, love, joy and peace to come us and others close by and far away.


How can we wait well?
    Prepare for what you are waiting for.
  • Sharing the waiting time with others.
  • Searching for meaning in that waiting time and space.
  • Finding an activity or item that brings joy, such as, art, music, walking, nature, visiting a special place
  • Do something for someone else. Think of others.


Prayer in the houses
  • Over 4 nights each week, we will use a bare branch to help us wait,
      as a symbol of anticipation, along with an Advent Wreath and 4 candles
  • Each week has a theme and a symbol to represent the theme
  • Each week we will light the candle(s), add to the branch, and pray,
     share a story and listen to a song
    • Week 1, one candle: the candle of HOPE
    • Week 2 ,two candles: Hope and LOVE
    • Week 3, three candles: Hope, Love and JOY
    • Week 4, four candles: Hope, Love, Joy and PEACE
  • As we approach Christmas the tree will come to life as the tree is ‘dressed’
     with symbols

Sharing with others
  • On the weekend bake a slice or cookies to give to our Capuchin friends for their Wednesday evening Mission
  • Each week save a little cash towards a donation to Hassan’s Mission in Sierra Leone. We will collect this at our Christmas Celebration.



Weekly Routine
This advent we will be praying together during our waiting time. We will be preparing for our Christmas celebration.
The bare branch reminds us that it is a time of waiting and anticipation.
Each week we will base our prayer around a symbol, and we will light a candle(s) that represents the 4 weeks of waiting.
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Week 1 - Hope             Week 2 - Love                Week 3 -Joy                      Week 4 – Peace

On 3 nights we will
  • light the candle(s),
  • listen to Come Lord Jesus Come by John Coleman,
  • reflect on the theme, write on symbols
  • pray,
  • hang a symbol(s) on the branch
On the fourth night
  • Light the candle(s)
  • we will read a story based on the theme
  • pray.

Theme, Symbol
Night 1        
Week 1  Everyone writes on a symbol, something they hope for themselves or someone significant
Week 2 Someone they love
Week 3 Ask for joy in some aspect of their life or for someone significant
Week 4 Pray for peace in some aspect of their life or for someone significant
Night 2          
On one symbol the household prays for one another with the symbol in mind, and writes those things on the symbol
Night 3
On one symbol the household prays for the wider community and the world and writes those things on the symbol
Night 4
A story is shared that represents the symbol

Come Lord Jesus come
Enter in our world
God among us now
Come Lord Jesus come

Come now Prince of Peace
Peace within our world
Peace within our homes
Come now Prince of Peace

Joy to all the world
Tiny seeds of love
Guiding star above
Come lord Jesus come

Come Lord Jesus come
Enter in our world
God among us now
Come lord Jesus come
John Coleman
Turning Point of Time

The stillness of anticipation cradles tiny Bethlehem,
silent now in preparation for the miracle of birth.
All creation, hushed, expectant, waits a baby's cry:
born in all simplicity at the turning point of time.

Be silent, earth, before the mystery of the long-awaited birth.
All the hopes of human history - longings, yearnings, dreams, desires -
gathered in a single moment, focussed in a child:
born in all simplicity at the turning point of time.

A nascent star, in celebration, blazes over Bethlehem;
crucible of all creation, where the human and divine
are refined in simple beauty in a new-born child:
born in all simplicity at the turning point of time.

Words Neil Quintrell © Pilgrim Publishing
Music: © Douglas Simper

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