Advent Prayers and Activities from Catholic Relief Services

Photo by Philip Laubner/CRS

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When everything around us screams "Christmas is upon us!" something in our hearts whispers, "No, not yet. I have work to do, and God will not be fooled."

But who among us would intentionally delay God coming into the world, to dwell as one of us as an overwhelming symbol of his abiding love? And yet, the Church sets apart this season: of preparation, of reflection, of making ready.

It can be puzzling to hear the cry of the Baptist to fill every valley, and make all mountains low, itself an echo from the prophet Isaiah who first foretold the Christmas miracle. Yes, we do want to work to prepare, but it seems such a symbolic effort and a show of busy-ness, to turn over every shovelful of earth. But to what end?

But then it's clear. Through much of the Old Testament God was understood to dwell on the mountain. Down in the valley was where humanity dwelled, longing for their creator. Over 500 times, the Scripture speaks of mountains — where the prophets ascended toward the Heavens to seek the voice of God. And this is certainly reflected in many other ancient cultures.

So when Scripture speaks of flattening mountains and filling valleys, we come to realize... what it's calling us to do is to make all this world a fitting place for God to dwell.

Catholic Relief Services works to do just that on behalf of the Catholics of the United States. In over 100 countries, this agency works to protect human life and dignity as the official international Catholic relief and development agency of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. It's incredible to say, but with the support and solidarity of compassion of Catholics everywhere, mountains have fallen, valleys have been filled. Through your prayers and support, the Kingdom of God is revealed.

And it all begins with prayer. We invite you to use the attached prayers, in solitude or in your families and faith communities or to share as images on social media, and prepare your hearts for the coming of God into the world. And for Advent reflections and activities, visit our Fair Trade Advent page.

Come, Lord Jesus, come!


In Shadow as Well as Light

An Advent prayer that as winter days lengthen, we will find hope in the light that Christ brings.

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Something in Me Wants to Be Born in Winter

As the days grow darker, and sometimes our spirits as well, still we sense the seed of something wonderful yearning to be born within us. May our love give it life.

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There Is a Light in This World

An Advent prayer about how Christ’s coming brings light to the world.

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When Every Night Is Winter

A prayer that we will show hospitality to all people who, like the Holy Family, are seeking shelter on a winter’s night

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Tags: Advent, prayer

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