Growing up, we always had an Advent wreath. I remember so many nights sitting at the dining room table, eating my dinner and the candles of the wreath were shining; making this time of year almost magical.
Sometimes I was allowed to help decorate the wreath, or light one of the candles.
Even though it was always part of my December traditions, I never knew about the history,the Symbolism of the wreath, and the candles.
Our church hosted an Advent wreath making event, and I am so thankful for all the information I learned.
The word Advent comes from the latin word adventus , which means coming.
Throughout the last centuries the meaning of this season slightly changed.
It started out during the fourth and fifth centuries as a season of preparation for the baptism of new Christians at the January feast of Epiphany.
By the sixth century, Roman Christians associated advent to Jesus’ second coming, and at the Middle Ages, the focus shifted to Jesus’ first coming.
Today we use this beautiful and special time to prepare the celebration of Jesus, and to anticipate the return of Christ.
The Advent wreath itself was constructed by a Protestant Pastor, Johann Heinrich Wichern. His goal was to have a visual aid for Children, so that they understand how much longer it is until Christmas.
The typical Advent wreath is circular in shape. The circle reminds us of Gods unending, everlasting love.
It is made of evergreen which are a sign of life. They point to new life and hope of eternal life.
The five candles contrast darkness and light.
The four candles are lit each Advent Sunday. They are usually purple, the traditional color of royalty. There is one pink candle, lit on the third Sunday to represent joy.
Each candle hold symbolism
Week 1 – The Prophecy Candle. Which represents the Prophets, primarily Isaiah, who foretold of Christ’s coming.
Week 2 – The Bethlehem or a manger a candle, which represents love.
Week 3 – The shepherds candle, which represents joy.
Week 4- The Angels Candle, which represents peace.
The big , white candle in the center , also called Christ candle is lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. It symbolizes that Jesus is the light of the world and the fulfillment of the promise.
Advent itself is simply any time set apart for spiritual preparation. But most people associate Advent with various traditions and customs that have grown up around Christmas in many of the world’s cultures. Early in history these customs took the forms of fasts and feasts. Today, they most often take the forms of candles, wreaths, and calendars.
We would love to hear what Christmas traditions and customs your families hold dear to their hearts. Please share on our Facebook or Instagram post in the comment section.