My favorite Collect for the entire Church Year is the one prayed on The Second Sunday in Advent and for the week following. I use it for my e-mail signature during all of Advent, and many Anglican Churches use it year-round to remind the congregations of the importance of God's Word to all Christians:
From the 1928 Book of Common Prayer:
BLESSED Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.I missed church today as I've been stuck at home since Thursday with a nasty cold/virus of some sort: fever, dizziness, sore throat, runny nose, etc. I've been downing zinc lozenges which keep me from going into a full-blown cold at least. Yesterday I had to miss our church's annual Christmas Tea which I was really looking forward to, especially since I was bringing our Rector's wife and our Beadle's wife from the Anglican Church I attend on Fridays. But they didn't want to attend without me--160 women are a lot of ladies to deal with when one doesn't know any of them. I was looking forward to the singing, the fellowship with many women who return each year even when they no longer attend our church, the lovely tea and delicious food, and the opportunity to welcome the season. But I was able to spend much more time with our daughter, home from college for the weekend, than if I had attended the tea, so that was a true blessing in staying home.
But we will light our own family Advent candles tonight--lighting the one from last week plus a fresh purple one for this week. We have been reading through Bible verses for Advent from an old (and seemingly unavailable) Advent page from Focus on the Family, plus the Vesper Prayers from Phyllis Tickle's The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Winter which contains a whole section on Advent.
And last Advent I spent some time copying some Advent quotations into my Quotation Journal, one of which I share with you today to mark and celebrate this Second Sunday in Advent:
"It is the beautiful task of Advent to awaken in all of us memories of goodness and thus to open doors of hope."So may we all open our hearts and our minds to the beauty and truth of God's holy Word this Second Sunday in Advent...and always.
--Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI
Wishing you a blessed Advent,