Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Advent Part 3--The Advent Wreath
Using candles around a wreath during winter predates Christianity. Both pre-Germanic and Scandinavian people used candles to signify hope for the coming of Spring and lengthening of days.
My the Middle Ages, Christians had adapted this ancient tradition to prepare for Christmas. By 1600, both Catholics and Lutherans had more formal practices surrounding the Advent wreath.
The Advent Wreath is replete with symbolism. Evergreens and the circle symbolize eternal life. Light from the candles symbolizes Jesus, the Light of the World. The first two weeks as well as the final week is symbolized by the lighting of successive purple candles. Purple is a reminder of the penance and works of mercy we do during this season to prepare ourselves spiritually for the coming of Christ into our hearts.
The third week is Gaudete Sunday and we light a pink candle. The pink symbolizes our hope in the coming of Christ since we have made it halfway through Advent at this point.
My advent wreath was made by my husband years ago out of a piece of wood from his grandfather's barn in Texas. He drilled 4 holes using his grandfather's antique hand drill. It means a lot to me.
Check out EWTN's Advent wreath during Advent. They have four candles that you can click on to light. Very cool!