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Boy lighting an advent candle

A boy lighting an Advent candle.

Advent is a time when we wait in joyful hope, preparing for the coming of Christ. 

Our Advent family prayer resources encourage us to look to God as we prepare for Christmas, but also to take notice of the world around us.

We also have a Christmas family prayer resource to celebrate the birth of Christ, the light of the world. 

Chains of hope

As we wait in hope this Advent for the coming of Christ, spend some time each day as a family reflecting on what gives you hope as well as what your hopes are for the world. 

Write each hopeful thing on separate strips of coloured paper. Stick these all together to make a paper chain which you can use to decorate your home at Christmas time. This can be a reminder that Jesus’ birth brings us new hope.

A time of waiting 

We live in a very noisy world, especially amid all the festive hustle and bustle of this time of year. Take some time with your family to be still and to remember what this season is really all about. In the quiet time we give God a chance to speak to us.

Here are some tips for spending time in silence, waiting on God, with children.

  • Don’t expect them to be able to sit quietly for a long time straight away. Start with just 30 seconds and build it up over time as they get more used to it.

  • Put on some music and slowly turn the volume down. Or ring a bell or use a brass singing bowl if you have one. Listen carefully until you can’t hear the sound anymore.

  • Sit together in a circle. Pass a tambourine, set of bells, set of keys or something else that is noisy around the circle as quietly as you can. Try not to let it make a sound!

  • Listen and count all the sounds that you can hear when you are quiet. For example, you might be able to hear the humming of the fridge, the washing machine going, a car passing outside, or the sound of birds. For each sound that you hear offer a prayer to God – for the sound of the fridge, you could give thanks to God for your food, or pray for those who are hungry.

O come, o come Emmanuel

Sing or listen to the Advent carol O come, o come Emmanuel.

Each verse calls Jesus by a different name, from the seven great “O Antiphons,” taken from the prophet Isaiah’s writings, which have been prayed in the lead up to Christmas since the fourth century.

Take time for each person to choose the "O Antiphon” name for Jesus which speaks to them and explain why.


Take some time to read and pray each of the antiphons in the days leading up to Christmas. You may wish to make an ornament for your Christmas tree or draw a picture based on each antiphon as you discuss.

17 December: O Wisdom

O Wisdom of our God Most High, guiding creation with power and love: come to teach us the path of knowledge!

Taken from the gospel acclamation

God’s wisdom guides creation with power and love.

How can we treat creation with care?

Where do you think our world needs God’s wisdom?

18 December: O Sacred Lord

O Leader of the House of Israel, giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai: come to rescue us with your mighty power!

Taken from the gospel acclamation

God gave the law to Moses to show people how to live.

How does God want us to live?

What actions can you commit to as a family to follow God’s way?

19 December: O Root of Jesse

O Root of Jesse’s stem, sign of God's love for all his people: come to save us without delay!

Taken from the gospel acclamation

Jesus represents new hope, a new shoot budding from “the stump of Jesse’s tree” (Isaiah 11:1).

Where in your life might you need new life and hope?

Where in our world needs new life and hope.

You may like to plant some seeds as you pray today.

20 December: O Key of David

O Key of David, opening the gates of God's eternal Kingdom: come and free the prisoners of darkness

Taken from the gospel acclamation

Keys unlock doors.

How can we open doors for people who feel trapped or excluded?

What hidden gifts might the key of David unlock for us?

21 December: O Dayspring

O Radiant Dawn, splendour of eternal light, sun of justice: come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death!

Taken from the gospel acclamation

We are reminded in this antiphon that Jesus is the light of the world.

Who do you think needs the light of Christ today?

How can you be light for others?

You may like to light a candle as you pray together today.

22 December: O King of the Nations

O King of all nations and keystone of the Church: come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!

Taken from the gospel acclamation

God is King of all the nations of the world.

Are you aware of places in the world where things are difficult? Places where there is poverty or conflict perhaps.

Take some time to name and pray for these places.

You may like to look at a map or globe as you pray for the world today.

23 December: O Emmanuel (God with us)

O Emmanuel, our King, and Giver of Law: come to save us, Lord our God!

Taken from the gospel acclamation

Jesus is God with us.

How can celebrate this great gift?

What difference does it make to know that, in Jesus, God came to live among us?

Family Advent calendar

Use our family Advent calendar at home and explore our family Advent and Christmas prayer sheets. 

Pray with us

Use our range of prayers to pray for all our sisters and brothers throughout the world

Children's liturgy

Help children to explore and reflect on the Sunday gospel with our resources.