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The Advent Wreath

Advent candle

Advent

Introduction

A Season
of Preparation


Advent Wreath:
Prayers - Customs

Meditations for
Each Week


About St. Nicholas

Gingerbread

Fasts and Feasts

Fasts and Feasts:
Recipes


Christmas tree
Christmas

Introduction

Christmas
Prayers and Customs


Prayers for
the Home


Prayers for
the New Year


Prayers for
the Family

Feast of
the Epiphany


Site Introduction

 

SpacerThe origins of the Advent wreath are found in the folk practices of the pre-Christian Germanic peoples who, during the cold December darkness of Eastern Europe, gathered wreaths of evergreen and lighted fires as signs of hope in a coming spring and renewed light.

SpacerChristians kept these popular traditions alive, and by the 16th century Catholics and Protestants throughout Germany used these symbols to celebrate their Advent hope in Christ, the everlasting Light. From Germany the use of the Advent wreath spread to other parts of the Christian world.

SpacerTraditionally, the wreath is made of four candles in a circle of evergreens. Three candles are violet and the fourth is rose, but four white candles or four violet candles can also be used. Each day at home, the candles are lighted, perhaps before the evening meal-- one candle the first week, and then another each succeeding week until December 25th. A short prayer may accompany the lighting.

A Rite for the Beginning of Advent at Home

The first day the wreath is in the home, the leader may say:

As our nights grow longer and our days grow short,
we look on these earthly signs--light and green branches--
and remember God's promise to our world:
Christ, our Light and our Hope, will come.
Listen to the words of Isaiah the prophet:

The people that walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those who lived in a land as dark as death
a light has dawned.
You have increased their joy
and given them gladness;
They rejoice in your presence
as those who rejoice at harvest,
as warriors exult when dividing spoil. Is. 9:1-2

Then all pray:

O God,
rejoicing,
we remember the promise of your Son.
As the light from this candle,
may the blessing of Christ come upon us,
brightening our way
and guiding us by his truth.
May Christ our Savior bring life
into the darkness of our world,
and to us, as we wait for his coming.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen

Then the first candle is lighted.

Each day at home, the candles are lighted, perhaps before the evening meal -- one candle the first week, and then another each succeeding week until December 25th. The rose candle is usually lighted on the third Sunday of Advent. As the candles are lighted, a prayer may be said.

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Daily Prayers for Lighting the Advent Wreath

First Week

O Emmanuel, Jesus Christ,
desire of every nation,
Savior of all peoples,
come and dwell among us.

Second Week

O King of all nations, Jesus Christ,
only joy of every heart,
come and save your people.

Third Week

O Key of David, Jesus Christ,
the gates of heaven open at your command,
come and show us the way to salvation.

Fourth Week

O Wisdom, holy Word of God, Jesus Christ,
all things are in your hands,
come and show us the way to salvation.

 

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Advent Prayers for Very Young Children


Prayers and commentary provided by
Passionist Publications and Fr Victor Hoagland, C.P.
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