The Advent Wreath

From The Worship and Music Committee

Advent is the beginning of the church year.  The Advent wreath is one of the symbols of this first season of the year.

The advent wreath was already in use before the dawn of Christianity in Northern Europe.  It was a symbol of hope in the future warmth and longer days in the coming of spring.  In the Middle Ages Christians started using the Advent wreath.  By 1600 Lutherans started using it more formally in worship both in churches and in their homes.

An Advent Wreath is generally a circle made from evergreen boughs with four candles around the wreath and one more in the middle.  The circle of the wreath reminds us of God’s eternity and endless mercy.  The greenery symbolizes newness of life, hope and renewal.  And the candles are the light of God coming into the world through Jesus.

The four candles represent the period of waiting during the four weeks of Advent.  The light of the candles remind us that Jesus comes to be light to the world.  As each week passes and more candles are used the light becomes brighter.  The growing light symbolizes the receding of the darkness of fear and the shadows of sin; leading to the celebration and rejoicing that the hope and promise of long ago is realized.

The first week we light a blue candle reminding us of the hope we feel in our anticipation of Christ’s coming.  On the second Sunday we light a blue candle reminding us of God’s love for us and all creation.  In the third week we light the pink candle of joy.   On the fourth week of Advent we light the blue candle of peace.

The white candle in the middle is the Christ candle.  This candle is traditionally lighted on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

Advent is a perfect time to involve our children at home.  Children can read daily Advent scriptures as we light the candles of our personal wreaths at dinner together.

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