Reviving Advent: The Saint Andrew Christmas Novena
By Scott P. Richert, About.com GuideADVENT can start anywhere from November 27 through December 3 , but one popular Advent devotion always begins on November 30, the Feast of Saint Andrew the Apostle. On this day, we begin the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena also known as the Christmas Anticipation Prayer or simply the Christmas Novena.
While a NOVENA is technically a nine-day prayer (the word comes from the Latin word for nine, novem), the name is sometimes applied to any prayer that we say repeatedly over a series of days.
In this case, Catholics pray the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena prayer 15 times each day from the Feast of Saint Andrew untilChristmas. The prayer is addressed to God the Father and asks Him to grant us our request in honor of the birth of His Son on Christmas. It's an excellent prayer to pray with children, because it heightens their anticipation of Christmas, while keeping them focused on the fact that Advent is a time of preparation, and not an extension of the Christmas season.
· You can pray the text of the prayer 15 times all at once, or you can spread it out throughout the day. One convenient way to pray it is to recite it five times at each meal, or five times during your morning prayers, five times during your evening prayers, and five times at supper. Be sure, when you begin the novena, to have a particular intention or request in mind, and recall it each time you say the prayer.
Here is the novena prayer:
Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.