The use of the advent wreath is a beautiful tradition that any Christian home may adapt. It is an effective human reminder of what the Advent Season is all about.
Advent is a time of expectations. It is derived from the Latin word Adventus which means arrival. The Advent season which spans 4 weeks before Christmas day is a time of reflecting on the glorious coming of Christ. "He will come again to judge the living and the death", the Catholic creed goes.
Advent above all is a spiritual amidst the material preparations. It's a great time for conversion so that the commemoration of Christ's first coming is more meaningful on Christmas Day.
It will be our first Advent and Christmas as husband and wife so why not start the tradition of advent wreath now. I made a simple advent "wreath", a linear wreath if you may.I made it from simple materials like chopsticks, white cups, ribbons and plain candles to purchased items like purple stars and a transparent-turned-to pink star and faux evergreen (holly) branches. With this, we hope to create a wonderful advent tradition at sweet40square.
The Advent Wreath, being a wreath, is circular in shape. Circle symbolizes eternity. It also reminds us of Christ as the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end. The evergreen branches symbolizes hope and life. I chose the holly variant because its tiny red fruits visually reminds me of Christ's Passion. The red (holly and ribbon) symbolizes God's love. There are four candles, 3 of which are purple and 1 pink. (Some would use 4 red candles for God's love). The order is purple, purple, pink, purple for the First, Second, Third and Fourth Week of Advent. The first purple candle symbolizes Hope. The second purple candle is for Faith. The third candle which is lit beginning on the Third Sunday (also called Gaudete Sunday) is for Joy. And the fourth is for Peace.
Advent Wreath Blessing Rite
"When the blessing of the Advent Wreath is celebrated in the home, it is appropriate that it be blessed by a parent or another member of the family" 1 You can download a copy of the rite below.
Using the Advent Wreath
"When the Advent Wreath is used in the home, the opening prayer of the Sunday Mass is recited when the candles are lighted. The lighting of the candles may be preceded or followed by an Advent hymn and a Scripture reading. The lighting of the Advent Wreath may fittingly be included as a part of the evening meal." 2 The number of candles lighted each week corresponds to the number of the current week of Advent.
For the hymns, you can print copies of lyrics of some Advent Hymns. There are a number of suggestions from Matt Fradd. Alternatively, you can prepare links to some karaoke youtube and play them from your Ipad for everyone to sing along.
You can download the opening prayers and the scripture reading below.
Have a blessed Advent!
1,2 Taken from http://www.ewtn.com/library/LITURGY/adbless.htm