The role of the Advent Wreath

The Advent wreath has been a time-honored tradition handed down from generation to generation. Though the practice is today quite common, many are not aware of the meaning and symbolism behind the advent wreath.

Symbolism of the Advent Wreath

SHAPE: Advent wreaths are circular for a reason. They are without beginning or end. This symbolizes God’s complete and unending love for each one of us. A love that was manifested in his sending his only Son to us to redeem us of our sins. The wreath also symbolizes the eternal life we receive through Jesus Christ.

NUMBER: The story is in the number four. Each of the four candles in the Advent wreath represents 1,000 years. Together these four candles represent the 4,000 years that humanity awaited the arrival of the Messiah. You may note that some Advent wreaths contain a fifth candle/ This white candle represents Christ himself.

COLOR: The violet color of the candles are the same as the church’s liturgical color and they signify a time of prayer, penance, and sacrifice. These themes may be more closely associated with Lent however Advent is also called “Little Lent”.  Advent is a period where we wait in darkness in hopeful expectation just as all of humanity did before the birth of Christ. Our generation and beyond await his promised return.

Rose is the color of the third candle lit in the Advent wreath. This color is the liturgical color that signifies joy. The lighting of this candle falls in Gaudete or Rejoice Sunday.

Advent Prayers

Incorporate the following prayers and scriptures into the weekly candle lighting of your Advent wreaths.

The 1st Sunday of Advent symbolizes Hope with the “Prophet’s Candle” reminding us that Jesus is coming.

Directions

Light the first purple candle

Prayer:

Stir up thy power, O Lord, and come,
that by thy protection we may be rescued
from the dangers that beset us through our sins;
and be a Redeemer to deliver us;
Who livest and reignest with God the Father
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Scriptures:

Isaiah 11:1-10
Luke: 1:26-38
Isaiah 7:10-14
Matthew 1:18-24

The 2nd Sunday of Advent symbolizes Faith with the “Bethlehem Candle” reminding us of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem.

Directions

Light the 1st purple candle (repeat first week’s prayer)
Light the 2nd purple candle

Prayer:

Stir up our hearts, O Lord,
to prepare the paths of thine Only-begotten Son:
that we may worthily serve thee
with hearts purified by His coming:
Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Scriptures:

Micah 5:2
Matthew 2:1-2, 9-11
Isaiah 2:1-5
Matthew 3:1-6

The 3rd Sunday of Advent symbolizes Joy with the “Shepherd’s Candle” reminding us of the Joy the world experienced at the coming birth of Jesus.

Directions

Light the 1st purple candle (repeat 1st week’s prayer)
Light the 2nd purple candle (repeat 2nd week’s prayer)
Light the rose candle

Prayer:

We beseech thee to listen to our prayers, O Lord,
and by the grace of thy coming enlighten our darkened minds:
Thou who livest and reignest with God the Father
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.

Scriptures:

Isaiah 9:6-7
John 1:19-34
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
Philippians 2:1-11

By | 2017-11-30T21:20:55+00:00 November 30th, 2017|Advent|0 Comments

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