The Star of Bethlehem, 1887-1891. Sir Edward Burne-Jones
To the left, Joseph, Mary and the infant Christ to the right, the three kings, Balthazar, Melchior and Gaspar.
Commissioned by the Corporation of Birmingham, 1887, and purchased through the Art Gallery Purchase Fund, 1891.
Upcoming Advent and Christmas Events around the Archdiocese
The Advent Wreath
Each Sunday in Advent, Catholics light Advent wreath candles at Mass representing the passing of each week of Advent in anticipation of the coming of Christ at Christmas.
The Advent wreath tradition is rich in symbolism. The shape of the wreath symbolizes the eternity God, while the evergreens symbolize new life and signs of hope. The four candles represent the four weeks of Advent, each with their own reflection—hope, love, joy and peace. A fifth white candle can also be lit to represent Christmas. As we light the candles each week, we journey toward Christmas in joyful expectation to celebrate Christ’s coming into the world over 2,000 years ago, while also waiting in hope for his second coming.
Why not bring this tradition into your home this year? It is an opportunity to bring the family together for prayer while lighting the Advent candles. You can buy wreaths and candles online (on Amazon, The Catholic Company, or other websites) and with new battery powered candles, families can order flameless candles to avoid messy wax spills or other candle mishaps.
We all have family trees, why not honor Jesus’ family tree? The Jesse Tree is a tradition that follows biblical stories from creation to the birth of Jesus, showing Jesus’ family tree and reminding us of the centuries of expectant hope of the Jewish people for the coming of the savior. This tradition places ornaments on a Christmas tree, adding the story of salvation history to the traditional family Christmas ornaments.
You can follow along with the stories for each day here or buy your own Jesse Tree ornaments on Etsy, and other websites. Make sure to have your Bible ready to read through each story as you go!
Advent calendars help us count down the days to Christmas. These calendars come in all shapes and sizes. Some hold tasty treats behind cardboard windows while others may be wood or felt with cute creatures to add each day. Whichever you choose, Advent calendars are a fun reminder that we wait in joyful participation of the coming of Christ. Advent calendars can be found in local stores or online.
The O Antiphons are antiphons used at vespers on the last seven days of Advent. Each antiphon refers to a name or an attribute of Christ from scripture. They also appear in the carol O Come O Come Emmanuel. The O Antiphons can be prayed, chanted, or sung. They may also appear in Lessons and Carols services.
Dec.17: O Spaientia or O Wisdom
Dec.18: O Adonai or O Lord
Dec. 19: O Radix Jesse or O Root of Jesse
Dec. 20: O Clavis David or O Key of David
Dec. 21: O Oriens or O Dayspring
Dece.22: O Rex Gentium or O King of the Nations
Dec. 23: O Emmanuel or O With us is God
St Andrew Novena
Beginning on St. Andrew the Apostle’s feast day, November 30, the following beautiful prayer is traditionally recited fifteen times a day until Christmas. This is a very meditative prayer that helps us increase our awareness of the real focus of Christmas and helps us prepare ourselves spiritually for His coming.
Hail and blessed be the hour and moment In which the Son of God was born Of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires,
[here mention your request]
through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His blessed Mother. Amen.
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Find your local parish
Find your local parish and ask them about their Advent and Christmas schedule. Many parishes have given us their Christmas mass schedules which you can check out here.