Blessed feast of St.Andrew to you! Please join me in saying the St. Andrew's Christmas Novena.
Say it 15 times each day until Christmas to help prepare our hearts for the coming of the Christ Child.
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.
Here is a bit about this humble saint, who always pointed toward Christ rather than himself:
St. Andrew was a native of Bethsaida in Galilee, a fisherman by trade, and a former disciple of John the Baptist. He was the one who introduced his brother Peter to Jesus, saying, "We have found the Messiah." Overshadowed henceforth by his brother, Andrew nevertheless appears again in the Gospels as introducing souls to Christ. After Pentecost, Andrew took up the apostolate on a much wider scale, and is said to have been martyred at Patras in southern Greece on a cross which was in the form of an "X". This type of cross has long been known as "St. Andrew's cross."
image from http://newtheologicalmovement.blogspot.com/2010/11/st-andrew-apostle-of-cross-and-father.html
With this great saint, Holy Mother Church begins the new year and the season of Advent. I'm sorry I'm not doing much of my own writing for this post, but this mama is tired, and others have said it so well already! Jodi posted an excerpt from fisheaters.com at our homeschool co-op blog and I thought it was certainly worth sharing--as I watch our neighbors put up their Christmas lights and outdoor decorations. :) This time of year is fraught with opportunities to share the faith! We don't have to be a scrooge about Christmas before it happens. We should still have joy, but it is more the anticipation of the joy, rather than the celebration and experience of it.
Catholic apologist Jacob Michael wrote something very interesting about how secular America sees "Christmas" as beginning after Thanksgiving and ending on 25 December, and then makes "New Years Resolutions" at the beginning of the secular year:
...what Christians do (or should be doing!) during Advent and leading up to Christmas is a foreshadowing of what they will do during the days of their lives that lead up to the Second Coming; what non-Christians refuse to do during Advent, and put off until after Christmas, is precisely a foreshadowing of what they will experience at the Second Coming.Let's not fall into that mentality, shall we? Let us, together, prepare our hearts and homes for God to come and be with us. Let's also tell our neighbors why we don't have our decorations up. They might be looking for just that meaning to be put back into their lives. Shall we offer them the Christ Child? What could be a better Christmas gift?!
We Christians are to prepare for the Coming of Christ before He actually comes -- and that Coming is symbolized and recalled at Christmas. Non-Christians miss this season of preparation, and then scramble for six days after the 25th to make their resolutions. By then, however, it's too late -- Christmas has come and gone, Our Lord has already made His visitation to the earth, and He has found them unprepared. This is precisely what will take place at the Second Coming, when those who have put off for their entire lives the necessary preparations will suddenly be scrambling to put their affairs in order. Unfortunately, by then it will have been too late, and there will be no time for repentance. The Second Coming will be less forgiving than the Incarnation. There will be no four-week warning period before the Second Coming, like we get during Advent. There will be no six-day period of grace after the Second Coming during which to make resolutions and self-examination, like the secular world does from Dec. 26 until Jan.1. from http://www.fisheaters.com/customsadvent1.html
And last but certainly not least, someone reminded me that today is nine days before the feast of the Immaculate Conception which means there is just enough time to say a novena to prepare for the feast day! Here is a seemingly wonderful (I just signed-up) site that will send the novena prayers to you everyday, which is very helpful if you are like me and end up printing a ga-zillion-and-two copies, er or maybe nine, because I misplace it each day and don't want to take the time to look for it because if I don't say the novena right then, it's not going to happen! Anyway, my bad habits aside, here's the link: http://www.praymorenovenas.com/immaculate-conception-novena/#ixzz2m9V9wS00
A blessed Advent to you all! He is coming! Prepare the way of the Lord!