Advent is the one time of the church year that is dedicated to the “coming” of Christ at Christmas. It is the time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity. The Advent season lasts for four Sundays leading up to Christmas.

The Advent wreath is the most popular tradition of Advent, and wreaths are typically present in both church and in the home. An Advent wreath can be a teaching tool and a reminder for Christians of the true meaning of Christmas. It is often circular, representing God’s eternity and it includes 4 candles – one for each Sunday of Advent. Some Advent wreaths bear a fifth candle that is to be lit on Christmas Day.

First candle (Purple) The Prophecy Candle of Hope
Second candle (Purple) The Bethlehem Candle
Third Candle (Pink) The Shepherd’s Candle of Joy
Fourth Candle ( Purple) The Angel Candle of Love
Fifth Candle (White) The Christ Candle

We light the first two purple candles during the first two Sundays in Advent. The third Sunday of Advent is called the Rejoice Sunday, and we light the pink candle on the third Sunday. On the fourth and final Sunday, the final purple candle is lit to mark the final week of prayer and penance as we wait in anticipation for the birth of Christ on Christmas. The Fifth candle, the white candle, is lit on Christmas in celebration of the birth.

Many families practice the tradition of making their own Advent wreath. Your family can create their own special wreath or add personal touches to a store-bought wreath. To assemble your own wreath, put four candles on a wreath in a circle. A white candle may also be used, and belongs in the center of the circle. When assembling the Advent Wreath, decorate with a circle of fresh evergreen, pine, cedar, fir, spruce or any other branches and then add holly leaves and berries as symbolism of the crown of thorns. Pine cones can also be used, symbolizing the Resurrection. The candle is lit, prayers are said and then the candle is snuffed out. Every week thereafter, the previous candle(s) are lit, prayers are said, and all candles are snuffed out.

Here are sample Advent prayers:

Advent God, we journey with you, to Bethlehem’s stable and a new-born King, ears attuned to the song of angels, eyes alert for Bethlehem’s star. Forgive us if on our journey if we are distracted by the tempting offers of this world. Keep our hearts aflame with the hope of Christmas, and the promise of a Savior. Amen

God of hope, who brought love into this world, be the love that dwells between us.
God of hope, who brought peace into this world, be the peace that dwells between us.
God of hope, who brought joy into this world, be the joy that dwells between us.
God of hope, the rock we stand upon, be the center, the focus of our lives always, and particularly this Advent time. Amen

We at wish you light, hope and peace this Advent season.

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