by Christine Sine
Welcome to Celtic Advent.
Advent marks the beginning of the liturgical year. In the Western church, it begins 4 Sundays before Christmas Day but for Celtic Christians and also for Orthodox Christians, it begins the evening of November 15th – forty days before Christmas Day. Celtic Christians always prayed and fasted for 40 days in preparation for any major life event, whether it be the planting of a new monastic center, the beginning of a new adventure as well as for preparation for Christmas and Easter.
We are entering a season of waiting, not a passive, idle and maybe boring waiting, but an active, soul searching and prayerful season. I love the Celtic invitation to begin 40 days before Christmas Day, before consumerism ramps up to a fever pitch and we become too distracted and overwhelmed by the busyness of the season to really take notice of what matters most. We prepare to celebrate our remembrance of Christ’s birth, 2000 years ago, we prepare to welcome him afresh as savior in our lives and anticipate his return at the end of time when the fullness of God’s redemption will be revealed and all creation will be made new. This is part of the reason that we decided to align our devotional Lean Towards the Light this Advent and Christmas and our Advent retreat process to Celtic Advent and not traditional Advent.
Christmas is a 12 day celebration of this joyful event. It begins on Christmas Day and culminates in the celebration of the Eve of Epiphany which commemorates the coming of the Magi.
Set Your Heart In the Right Direction.
“As we begin this journey of Advent start by setting your heart in the right direction” (David Cole Celtic Advent). As I read this starting reflection in David Cole’s excellent Celtic Advent devotional book, I realized how much I need to set myself heart in the right direction. Focusing on Advent and the coming of Christ as the intention of my heart and soul isn’t always easy but I know it is extremely important.
I am using our Celtic prayer cards to guide me through the season, as well as David Cole’s book and really encourage you to set your own heart in the right direction by joining me in this celebration of Celtic Advent.
Resources for Celtic Advent
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Celtic Advent: Forty Days of Devotions to Christmas – David Cole. This is my devotional read for Advent this year
A Fragrant Offering: A Daily Prayer Cycle in the Celtic Tradition – John Birch. I used this last year and though it is not specifically for Celtic Advent I found it to be an excellent resource to use for the season.
John has also produced a number of Celtic Advent liturgies that are a must read for this season.
Celts to the Creche – Brenda Griffin Warren is another Godspace regular. I love this collection of daily devotions that can be accessed daily on her site.
The Soul’s Slow Ripening: 12 Celtic Practices for Seeking the Sacred. Christine Valters Paintner. This is not an Advent book but it is a wonderful book to use for contemplative reflection with a Celtic focus. I have been using it over the last few months and have found much inspiration from it.
Journey To The Manger with Patrick and Friends Jean McLachlan Hess.
Music for Celtic Advent
Godspace Celtic Prayer Cards
Our Celtic Prayer cards come in a set of 10 cards with prayers inspired by Celtic Saints on the front and a short reflection on the back. This is my favourite set of our cards and as many of the photos were taken on our trip to Iona last year, have special significance for me.
They are available in 3 forms: