The Advent Wreath
The Advent Wreath
As we journey through Advent together, please know this is not an attempt to ascribe, or give credence to, any one teaching or belief or trying to persuade you to a way of belief. It is a sharing in what we were led to do, as personal participation in the season of Advent.
So, let’s make the Advent wreath.
The Advent Wreath: You will need live or artificial greenery in the form of a wreath; a total of 5 candles: 4 candles of the same size, 3 purple and 1 rose; and one white column candle, which is larger than the other 4. You can also choose to use all white candles, tying purple ribbons around three of the candles, and a rose ribbon around the other candle. Set the candles equidistant from each other around the wreath. Place the larger white candle, in the center of the wreath. The center candle is not lit until Christmas Day and is known as the Christ candle. Some do not put a candle in the center, so you can choose whether you do this or not. You can find many instructions on the internet about preparing an Advent wreath, including pictures.
Next, plan a brief ceremony for each night of Advent. Keep it simple, quiet, tender. Remembering that Advent is a time of hope, waiting for the coming. The Oxford English Dictionary gives the definition of “Advent” as ‘The arrival of a notable person or thing’. It stems from the Latin root, Adventus, which means ‘arrival’ through its root from the word advenire whereby ad – ‘to’ and venire – ‘come’.
We always began the ceremony with a song, ‘The Light of The Dove,’ which we received in prayer. But you can plan your ceremony to be as you would have it. Many choose, ‘Come, O Come, Emmanuel.’ After the song, proceed with the lighting of the candle(s), and a reading from The Old Testament, or choose a verse, or sing another song, which is special to you, or your family. After the song and/or reading is complete, blow out the candle(s), and enjoy the peace of night you have created. We chose sunset as the daily time for the lighting of the Advent wreath, but you can select a time which best suits you.
Begin on the first Sunday of Advent (this year it is December 3, 2023) by lighting the first purple candle. Each night of the first week you light the same candle and perform your personal ceremony. Then, on the second Sunday of Advent you light not only the first purple candle but also a second purple candle. Each night of the second week you light the same two candles. On the third Sunday of Advent, you light the two purple candles as well as the rose candle. Each night of the third week you light the same candles. The fourth Sunday of Advent you light the three previous candles and the last purple candle. Each night of the fourth week you light the same candles. On Christmas Day you light all four candles on the wreath and the larger candle in the center of the wreath.
If you wish, this practice can continue, lighting all five candles each night throughout the twelve days of Christmas, until you reach the twelfth day of Christmas, which is celebrated as the Epiphany (the visitation of the Magi).
I am eager to begin this holy season with you and look forward to the lighting of the candles each day. This year I think I will continue to choose sunset as my time of day to have my personal Advent ceremony. With each candle I light I will think of The Light of The World, for we are all meant to be The Light of The World. Thank you for joining me as we make our way through the season of Advent, together.