Advent wreaths are a Christian tradition with roots in 16th-century Germany. They are seen both in churches and in homes and are an excellent way to prepare for the celebration of Christmas. Here is a step-by-step introduction to the practice and how to implement it in your home.
There is no hard and fast rule regarding what an Advent wreath looks like. A traditional wreath contains a circle of evergreen leaves surrounding a set of four candles. There are usually three purple candles and one rose (pink) candle. However, some traditions have four red candles and others contain an extra white candle. For the purposes of this article we will focus on the three purple and one rose.
The beauty of the Advent wreath is that it is a constant reminder of the upcoming celebration of Christmas. It reminds us to prepare our own hearts to receive the Light of Christ and to keep it burning each and every day. Depending on your circumstances, the Advent wreath can be lit each day of Advent or only on Sundays. Whichever one works with your schedule, stick to it as best as you can.
There is a brief prayer associated with the lighting of the Advent wreath. Here is one example.
Another option for the prayers said around the Advent wreath is to pray the opening prayer at Mass. Here is the first Sunday of Advent .
If you decide to have a traditional wreath with purple candles, it is appropriate to light them according to the correct Sunday.
If you use a white candle in the center, it is lit on Christmas Eve.
The custom is fairly simple to implement and is a perfect way to introduce prayer into the home if you don't already have a nightly tradition of prayer. Children love Advent wreaths and to heighten the drama, it is always great to light the candle in the darkness. This further highlights the symbolism and points to Christ being the true "light of the world."
If you are looking for a new tradition this year in December, consider the Advent wreath.BACK TO LIST