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!


LifeisgreatTAC said...

Check your heading. Advent part thirty-three. You can delete this comment if you want. Smiles.

I would like to have you post a picture of your advent wreath that dh made. Sounds absolutely rustic and beautiful.

Carmel said...

This is the second year that I have used an advent wreath at my home. My last one was weird, but this year I got a proper one.
Your one sounds nice too and i'm sure beautiful!

4HisChurch said...

I know. I keep wanting to take one and post it. I really should. Thanks for the edit!

4HisChurch said...

Wow, Carmel, we must have posted at the same time! I was replying to Lifeisgreat before.

My dh likes just the wooden base with candles. Each year, I tend to dress it up more. This year I bought chunky candles because that's what I've found so far. It may take up close to the whole surface, so I may not end up being able to put greenery on it anyway. DH likes the symbolism of just the naked barn wood without a lot of xtra stuff.

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"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

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