"The Season of Light" is a guide for families, households, classrooms, communities, and parishes who wish to make the lighting of the Advent candles a daily prayer. For each day of the season, from the First Sunday of Advent until Christmas Day, "The Season of Light" offers a brief liturgy that is based on the structure of Vespers or Evening Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours: the lighting of the candles (the "lucernarium""), a reading from the Advent Scriptures, petitions and collect, and a final blessing.
The Advent wreath is one of the most enduring customs of the Christmas season. Rich in meaning, the four lights of the Advent wreath kindle "our blessed hope and manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ." (Titus 2:13). It is a symbol of our faith: that light and life will triumph over darkness and death, that our hope in God's providence and love will never leave us disappointed.
With this rich tradition in mind, Jay Cormier has structured the daily liturgies in "The Season of Light" as follows: "The Lucernarium," the lighting of the candle(s); "The Word of God," in which a lector reads a Scripture passage that reflects the Advent themes of joyful expectation and the restoration of justice and peace in the dawning of Jesus Christ, the Light of the World; and "Prayers," in which the presider or leader offers petitions and all respond. Then the Lord's Prayer is recited, and the final collect and the blessing (including a scriptural blessing and a table blessing before meals) are offered by the presider.
The structure and prayers in "The Season of Light" are offered as suggestions; adaptions are encouraged. For example, families may wish to make the intercessions an opportunity for spontaneous prayers offered by participants; groups with musical ability and leadership may want to incorporate hymns from the rich treasury of Advent and Christian hymnody; those who pray the Liturgy of the Hours regularly might consider including the Advent wreath custom with the psalms and prayers of the Hours.
Designed for all those who wish to make the Advent wreath a daily prayer and part of their Christmas observance and tradition, "The Season of Light" helps Christians celebrate that we are an Advent people: a people who live in the eternal hope and expectation of the ever-burning light of Jesus Christ.
"Jay Cormier is the editor of "Connections," a newsletter of ideas and resources for homilists. The Liturgical Press has also published his "Lord, Hear Our Prayer: The Prayer of the Faithful for Sundays, Holy Days, and Ritual Masses" and "The Family Advent Wreath: Blessings and Prayers."