If the Advent wreath is part of your Advent practice already, why not supplement it with a daily Advent reading from Scripture? For each day of the year, the Church provides (in addition to the readings for Mass that day) a reading from the Bible that illustrates the theme of the particular celebration on that day or of the liturgical season that the day falls in.
For Advent, the themes include:
- The need for repentance
- Spiritual conversion
- The extension of salvation from Israel to all nations
All of the readings for Advent come from the Old Testament book of the Prophet Isaiah, who, more clearly than any other prophet, foretold the coming of Christ. His admonitions to the people of Israel, to prepare themselves for the coming of the Lord, still ring true today, as we prepare ourselves both for Christmas and for Christ's Second Coming at the end of time. (You can find links to the readings for each week of Advent at the end of this post.)
A good way to integrate these Scripture readings into your daily Advent routine is to tie them to something else. If you light your Advent wreath every day, then read the reading at that time. Or do the reading at supper, immediately after saying Grace After Meals.
While each day's reading builds on the previous ones, don't worry if you miss a day. You can catch up at your own pace, or even simply skip the ones you've missed--you'll catch them next year when you've made daily Scripture readings during Advent an annual custom. The important thing is simply to start.
(The Gospels are displayed on the coffin of Pope John Paul II, May 1, 2011. Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)
Daily Scripture Readings for Advent:
- Scripture Readings for the First Week of Advent
- Scripture Readings for the Second Week of Advent
- Scripture Readings for the Third Week of Advent
- Scripture Readings for the Fourth Week of Advent