St. Andrew the Apostle is often overlooked in favor of his brother, of whom you may have heard, Peter. Andrew intoduced Peter to Jesus, having first been a disciple of John the Baptist. Andrew is said to have been martyred in Greece on a cross shaped like an "X" which is now referred to as St. Andrew's cross.
Today begins, what is sometimes known as the Christmas Novena or the Christmas Anticipation Prayer. This is an ancient and meditiative prayer that meant to draw us closer to Christ in this time of preparation. It is also a very powerful intercessory prayer that when prayed fifteen times a day between today and Christmas day can result in many intentions being granted. It is also called the St. Andrew's prayer but it does not call upon that great saint, rather it petitions God directly.
"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 the piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires, [here mention your request] through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His blessed Mother." Amen.
In Scotland St, Andrew's day is a big celebration since it is their national day, St. Andrew being the patron saint of Scotland. According to legend a Greek monk, St. Regulus, was ordered by God via a vision to take several St. Andrew relics to the end of the earth for safe keeping. Regulus immediately set off on a dangerous sea journey which ended at the settlement of Fife, which is the modern day town of St. Andrew's. There was a tooth, a knee cap and a few finger bones that became a focus of many pilgrimages until the Scottish Reformation in the 1600s when they were destroyed.
To make the day make a point of printing the prayer and saying it with the children. Fifteen times may seem overwhelming but if you break it up, five times at each meal or ten times in the morning and five before bed, it's not so time consuming.
Today is also New Year's Eve for our church. The liturgical year officially ends tonight and begins anew tomorrow. Why not make a little celebration tonight? Have some sparkling cider for the kids and a little bubbly for the adults. If you want to be really authentic try some single malt. The Glenlivet is a favorite in my house. Some shortbread or a traditional Scots dessert called Cranachan is a fun idea. Cover the table in a tartan or any plaid fabric or use plaid napkins and call them tartan, I wont' tell.
However you mark the day keep in mind that this season of Advent is a privilege to journey through. A time to grow in faith with your family and a chance to bind you children in their faith in a joyful way that they will pass down to their families in the years to come.
Thank you for making us part of your Advent.