Action Alert!

Anticipating Christmas, Beginning with Saint Andrew

By Jennifer Gregory Miller (bio - articles - email) | Nov 29, 2016

November 30, the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, is this Wednesday. As I mentioned last week, November 30 is the pivotal date for the beginning of Advent, starting the Sunday closest to November 30.

Also on November 30 starts the tradition to pray the Christmas Anticipation Prayer fifteen times each day before Christmas. The origins of this prayer are unknown, but it is older, at least a hundred years old:

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, 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.

The prayer is referred to by all sorts of names: Christmas Novena, St. Andrew’s Novena, St. Andrew’s Christmas Prayer, Christmas Anticipation Prayer, sometimes even St. Andrew’s Chaplet. I’m not trying to stir up a controversy, but technically, this is not a novena, because it lasts longer than nine days.

The prayer also has nothing to do with St. Andrew except that it begins on his feast day. It is not unusual or surprising that some of the names incorporate St. Andrew, because that is a Catholic tradition to use the saint of the day to name traditions of that day instead of the calendar date. Nevertheless, the prayer is not to St. Andrew, nor does it refer to St. Andrew.

So what to call the prayer? My son’s school solution is my favorite. They pray this prayer during Advent and solve the whole conundrum on what to call the prayer by calling it “Hail and Blessed.”

Regardless the name, it is a beautiful way to prepare for Christ’s coming, whether it is said fifteen times or just once a day.

I created a few versions of prayer cards of the “Hail and Blessed” to print and use within your own Domestic Church. Enjoy!

Jennifer Gregory Miller is an experienced homemaker, home schooler, and authority on living the liturgical year. She is the primary developer of CatholicCulture.org's liturgical year section. See full bio.

Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.