Advent Wreath

To nurture a vibrant, progressive and spirit-filled parish family, committed to the call of the Gospel.

Introduction

During Advent we prepare for the coming of Christ’s Kingdom. As Christians, we have many beautiful Advent customs and traditions. None is more beautiful though than the Advent wreath because with this wreath, families are drawn together in their preparation for Christmas.

The custom of having an Advent wreath in the home is German in origin. However, the actual origins are uncertain. There is evidence of pre-Christian Germanic peoples using wreaths with lit candles during the cold and dark December days as a sign of hope in the future warm and extended-sunlight days of spring. By the middle ages, the Christians adapted this tradition and used Advent wreaths as part of their spiritual preparation for Christmas. After all, Christ is “the Light that came into the world” to dispel the darkness of sin and to radiate the truth and love of God (cf. John 3:19-21).

Three candles are purple and one is rose. The purple candles in particular symbolize the prayer, penance, and preparatory sacrifices and goods works undertaken at this time. The rose candle is lit on the third Sunday, Gaudete (Latin for Rejoice) Sunday, when the priest also wears rose vestments at Mass; Gaudete Sunday is the Sunday of rejoicing, because the faithful have arrived at the midpoint of Advent, when their preparation is now half over and they are close to Christmas.

The progressive lighting of the candles symbolizes the expectation and hope surrounding our Lord’s first coming into the world and the anticipation of His second coming to judge the living and the dead. The light again signifies Christ, the Light of the world. Some modern day adaptions include a white candle placed in the middle of the wreath, which represents Christ and is lit on Christmas Eve. Another tradition is to replace the three purple and one rose candles with four white candles, which will be lit throughout Christmas season.

Traditionally, each of the four Advent candles have a deeper meaning:

1st Sunday of AdventHOPEReminds us of the Hope we have because Jesus is coming.
2nd Sunday of AdventPEACEWe recall how Christ comes as the Prince of Peace.
3rd Sunday of AdventJOYReminds us of the Joy the world experienced at the coming birth of Jesus
4th Sunday of AdventLOVEWe remember that God Loves us so much that he sent his only Son to be with us and to save us.

Family Activity and Prayer

Advent is a time to stir up our faith in the Lord. The wreath and its prayers provide us a way to augment this special preparation for Christmas. Moreover, this tradition helps us to remain vigilant in our homes and not lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas.

Create your own family wreath or purchase one to use during the season. As you gather as a family to pray, place the wreath in an appropriate place within your home where all can gather to pray.


1st Sunday – Blessing of wreath & Lighting of the Candle

The Head of the family invites everyone with these words:
Let us bow our heads in prayer as we ask God’s blessing upon this wreath. (Pause for a moment of silence)

Oh God, by whose word all things are made holy, pour forth your blessing upon this wreath and grant that we who use it during this Advent Season, may prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ.

May we who are gathered here be ever mindful of the needs of our families and friends and of those who most need our love, and may we be true witnesses of our faith in your coming.
We ask this in Christ our Lord. Amen.

(Sprinkle the wreath with Holy Water)

Light the 1st purple candle and one of the children or someone else saysthe following prayer:

O Lord our God, keep us alert and watchful as we wait in joyful hope for the return of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who came to us in great humility.
Keep us strong so that you may find not find us sleeping in sin, but vigilant in prayer and active in service and praise of your ever abiding presence. Amen.

All pray together one ‘Our Father’, one ‘Hail Mary’, one ‘Glory be’ and end the prayer by giving each other a sign of peace.


2nd Sunday – Lighting of the Candle

Light the 1st and 2nd purple candles; one of the children or someone and
else says the following prayer:

Lord Jesus, prepare our hearts and minds to welcome you with deep faith and an active waiting. Remove any doubts and hesitations we might have, so that our waiting may be infused with a joy that radiates out to others and draws us together as a community bound by a collective hope in your coming. May our repentance be a genuine act of contrition manifested in our willingness to change our lives for you. Amen.

One ‘Our Father’, ‘Hail Mary’ ‘Glory be’… Sign of peace.


3rd Sunday – Lighting of the Candle

Light the 1st and 2nd (purple) candles; the 3rd (pink) candle and one of the children or someone else says the following prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus, as the celebration of your birth draws near, fill us with joy and eager anticipation of your coming once more into our lives. Renew our minds and hearts so that while we await your arrival as God’s People, we are not passive but actively seeking out ways to make you better known and loved this Christmas season. Amen.

One ‘Our Father’, ‘Hail Mary’ ‘Glory be’… Sign of peace.


4th Sunday – Lighting of the Candle

Light all 4 candles and one of the children or someone else says the following prayer:

Everlasting Father, all the world bows down before you. Teach us to embrace your will in all things, in times of prosperity and adversity. May we constantly fix our gaze to do your will. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God, forever and ever. Amen.

One ‘Our Father’, ‘Hail Mary’ ‘Glory be’… Sign of peace.