O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

I’m participating in the KEEP CHRIST in CHRISTMAS Blog Link-Up 2013
Be sure to visit as many links as possible,
listed at the bottom of this post.

On the first Sunday of Advent we open our hearts to the Lord by opening “O Radiant-Dawn, 5-Minute Prayers Around the Advent Wreath” as we prepare to light the first candle.

Lisa Hendey's beautiful booklet for Advent reflects her deep faith and willingness to share what’s important to her family as we all prepare for Christmas. Each of the 28 daily devotional services take only five minutes for individuals, couples, families or other groups.

Lisa was inspired to write this for us by a glorious sunrise she almost missed from her kitchen window. “Recently, while standing at that window on a particularly crisp, clear morning,” she writes, “my heart soared at the first rays of light. In that moment, one of the ‘O Antiphons’ of Advent came to mind and sparked in my heart a sense of amazement at the splendor of God's love for me: ‘O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice; come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.’”

Our busyness keeps us running, especially this time of year with additional decorating, shopping and entertaining we could never keep up with all year long. In our haste to do it all we can easily miss the sacredness of the season.  Here’s her remedy: 

  “Just as that recent dawn took my breath away and drew me to Christ, this humble booklet can be for your family a doorway into the profound solace of a well-kept Advent. With a few minutes of daily silence, scripture, prayer, and private reflection or shared conversation about what matters most, I hope you find and grow to cherish a place of quiet refuge around your Advent wreath. Put away unhelpful expectations of what you think Advent should be and allow this to be a time of simplicity, focus, and sacred longing.”

I like the way the booklet is organized. Each Advent devotion begins with an opening prayer and the lighting of the candle or candles. All pray in silence or sing “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.”   A short Scripture reading is followed by silent reflection or discussion on the questions for sharing.

Lisa’s separate suggestions to adapt the reflection and questions for young children welcomes them into the celebration. Then comes the closing prayer, and while making the sign of the cross all say, “Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord! Amen”

Her introduction of the origins, purpose and traditions of Advent are refreshing and give us clarity to tell others why Advent is such a rich way to wait in expectant faith for our newborn Savior.

The O Antiphons come alive in the last section of the booklet. They open the prayer service for appropriate days at the end of Advent, giving a heighten sense of expectation as we fully enter into Christmas with praise on our lips and our hearts open. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel!

Does you family use the Advent Wreath to prepare for Christmas? What songs or prayers do you use?

Visit these who are hosting this blog link-up:
Blogs to visit:
Equipping Catholic Families: Keep Christ in Christmas
Campfires and Cleats  How We Keep Christ in Christmas
Coffee Moments with Sam  The Light of Hope
Catholic Inspired: Faith-Centered Family Christmas
Sue Elvis Writes Bring Christ to Others
Home to 4 Kiddos  Keep Christ in Christmas
Faith Filled Freebies: Keep Christ in Christmas
Em’s Estuary: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Written by the Finger of God: Not Christmas as Usual
On the Way Home:  Keep Christ in Christmas
Home to 4 Kiddos  Keep Christ in Christmas
City Girl, Country Home Emmanuel Is With Us. Are we WITH HIM?
Journey to Wisdom: Trusting in your Awkward Fiats
Designs by Birgit: Elf on a Shelf and Santa Claus
Catholic Inspired: Faith-Centered Family Christmas
A Slice of Smith Life: How we keep Christ in Christmas
Campfires and Cleats  How We Keep Christ in Christmas
Homeschooling With Joy  Keeping Christ in Christmas
Mrs Domestic Bliss     Gingerbread Nativity
The Chic Traveller      Keeping Christ in Christmas
California to Korea     Keeping Christ in Christmas
Dominique’s Desk       Keeping Christ in Christmas



(© 2013 Nancy H C Ward)




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About Nancy Ward

Nancy HC Ward is a journalist, author, and speaker who blogs about Catholicism, her conversion, and Christian community at JoyAlive.net,
 7 websites and 7 magazines. She loves to share her faith story and help others share theirs through her Sharing Your Faith Stories seminars, also available on DVD. She contributed four chapters to The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion. She facilitates the Dallas/Fort Worth Catholic Writers and a critique group for the Catholic Writers Guild, where she serves as a board member.
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41 Responses to O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

  1. Deborah says:

    My family celebrates Advent with a Jesse Tree – ornaments and readings…https://www.etsy.com/shop/PinkScissorsDesign

    • Nancy Ward says:

      That’s a beautiful tradition, especially when the children are involved. Later they will remember that family time of Advent and hopefully make it a tradtion in their own families.

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  4. monicapruett says:

    What a wonderful way to celebrate. Thanks for sharing at Family Fun Friday!

  5. Christine says:

    I haven’t heard of this pamphlet, but I should keep an eye out for it. I’ve been hoping to find something dealing with the O Antiphons to use at the end of Advent. We also light the wreath and sing a verse of O Come, O Come Emmanuel each night.

  6. I will have to look up the book. I set up a little corner on our book shelf with Advent/Christmas books and found I had far too few. I’ll have to look for it.

  7. looks like a great book…I love Lisa’s work!

  8. Mo says:

    I have heard of Lisa’s book, I have another one of hers and just love it. Perhaps I will buy this for next year, it sounds like it would be a great addition to my Advent.

    • Nancy Ward says:

      Mo, Yes, she is a good writer and an inspiration to me. Perhaps I’ll post this review earlier next year and not save it for the first Sunday of Advent.

  9. The O Antiphons are truly a wonderful source of meditations. I for one play the Latin versions during Vesper prayers during those days.


  10. Thanks for sharing Lisa Hendey’s booklet. It sounds like a great resource.

  11. emsestuary says:

    Oh good, another new book.
    This one sounds wonderful.
    Thank you.

  12. Sue Elvis says:


    Thank you for sharing Lisa’s booklet. It sounds very helpful.

    I am not as familiar with as many Advent hymns as Christmas ones. When I have finished reading and commenting I’m off to search for a copy of the CD “Advent at Ephesus” which (I think) Monique recommended. We usually sing a verse of O Come O Come Emmanuel each evening as we light the candles on our Advent Wreath.

    Have a blessed Advent!

  13. steedj says:

    Nice review! We have this, too. I’m just trying to remember to use it :).

  14. kenzieandcoy says:

    We do the advent wreath in our house too. The book sounds wonderful. I’ll have to check it out. Thank you so much for sharing. I love the picture at the top of your blog! It looks so peaceful and calm, perfect for right now.

    • Nancy Ward says:

      The Advent wreath is a tradition our family enjoys and Lisa gives it more structure and meaning that any other worship aid I’ve seen. The picture across the top of my blog was one I took from my back yard on a particularly beautiful sunrise morning. It’s peaceful and calm, but you should see the light show the Lord puts on when a storm is brewing on the lake! He is mighty in all his works.

  15. I like when a child is born though not strictly a hymn. A blessed advent to you!

  16. Lisa’s book sounds like a great addition to our family advent traditions. We will have to keep it in mind for next year. Thanks for the recommendation.

  17. Joanne says:

    I agree Advent is a time of waiting and in today’s Black Friday/ Cyber Monday sales rushes it is difficult to remain focused on the waiting aspects of Christmas. It is also hard to explain why we wait to friends who are caught up in the shopping and decorating

  18. The booklet sounds very much like what we do around our Advent wreath as a family (with really little ones the quiet reflection time is not really very quiet though ) O antiphons are one of my favorite prayers to pray (or sing) during Advent. Saying them stirs up that sacred longing in each of our hearts! Blessed Advent!

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  20. We use the Advent wreath, too, but use the prayers shared by Holy Heroes in their Advent Adventure. 🙂 Visiting from the Keep Christ in Christmas Link-Up! 🙂 Blessings and prayers from the Philippines!

    • Nancy Ward says:

      Tina, How great is our God to allow you to celebrate Advent when your country is recovering from a devastating disaster. We prepare for him in our hearts no matter the circumstances around us.

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  22. cyndi says:

    Thank you for some wonderful advice and a reminder of what Advent needs to be: a ttime of simplicity, focus, and sacred longing.”

    • Nancy Ward says:

      Cindi, I’ll pass your comment on to Lisa who wrote the book. I’m just the messenger and blessed to bring this message for Advent.

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