Using the Liturgies

Many communities like to celebrate a Penitential Liturgy during Advent - though Advent is not really a penitential season. It is a time to remember with joy the coming of Jesus into the world as a baby and the promise that he will come again at the end of time.

With the great feast of Christmas on the horizon, it is natural that people want to prepare spiritually - and that part of that preparation is an acknowledgment of the fact of sin. However, this acknowledgment needs to be tempered with an awareness that, through the Incarnation of Christ, God redeemed his people and that, through the cross, Jesus overcame evil.

The Liturgy focuses less on our individual sinfulness than on our being part of a world that is so often dark for so many - and reminding ourselves of the constant need of the Light of Christ to see where evil lurks - to seek forgiveness - and to be guided into a holier future.


Many churches have cribs. If yours has an inside one create the framework - e.g stable/ background, empty manger. This offers a physical representation of our preparing our souls to welcome the Christ-child... almost ready - but not quite.

Symbolic Action

Where parishes are offering individual absolution, this takes place after the Gospel - with perhaps a few words from the priest.

After absolution, each person lights a tee-light and places it near the waiting crib. It is through the coming of Jesus that God reconciled the world to himself... the candles remain in place and are lit for every Liturgy over the Christmas festival.

During the lighting of lights - with or without absolution - it would be good to have music playing in the background - e.g. "Comfort my people" from Handel's Messiah, "God so loved the world" from Stainer's Crucifixion .

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