Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Advent Wreath


Advent wreaths were originally part of folk traditions of Northern Europe. Wreaths of evergreens were decorated with candles to symbolize life and light during the dark months of winter. The circle of the wreath, which has no beginning or end, symbolizes the eternity of God. Evergreens stay green all year and so signify continuous life.

Each of the four candles represent one of the Sundays of Advent. We needn't worry about the colors of the candles; traditionally, three violet candles and one rose candle are used, but you may prefer to use all royal blue candles, four violet candles or four white candles. The symbol is the flame, not the color. Each Sunday, the light of the wreath glows brighter as a reminder that Christ comes into the darkness of our lives to bring newness, life, and hope.

As you light the first candle, sing a verse of O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, re–read part of today's Gospel, and say a brief concluding prayer.

FIRST WEEK

Light one of the violet candles. During the rest of the week, this candle is lit again at the evening meal or whenever you choose to do so. Say a prayer like the following:

Jesus, as we wait for your coming, help us not to be afraid but to trust in you. As we light this candle, we remember that you bring the light of hope into our lives. May your Word be always in our minds, on our lips, and in our hearts. Amen.

from St. Cecilia parish in Boston