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Advent Candles Light Path to Christmas

Advent candles are an important part of the Christmas season.  While many people do not necessarily fully understand the unique and mysterious history behind them, Christians fulfill their obligations by lighting these candles during the Christmas season according to tradition.  They are popular gifts before and during Christmas time, because it is a widely shared and enjoyed aspect of the events leading up to the celebrated birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem.  They are a part of a long, cherished tradition in all of the Western Church; a tradition that has both physical and spiritual ties.

First of all, Advent candles are part of the Advent wreath, which is also known as the Advent crown.  As a decorative symbol, the wreath is flat and horizontal and made of evergreen.  The four candles, then, sit evenly spaced within the wreath of leaves and represent the four weeks of the season of Advent.  This is basically the liturgical month leading up to Christmas morning.  According to tradition, you light the first candle on the First Sunday of Advent, which you can accompany with a reading from the Bible if you choose.  Then every subsequent Sunday, you light another candle and read another passage if you desire to.  Of course, this is completed on the final Sunday of Advent. 

You can light the Advent candles of your own Advent wreath at home, or you can attend a church service to witness the event.  If you are already an avid church member, than you have probably seen this ceremony dozens of times.  Even so, you can still conduct your own ceremony at home if you want something more intimate.  Some people even feel the need to place fifth candle in the center of the wreath.  This is commonly known as the Christ candle, which you light on Christmas morning in honor of the birth of Jesus.

The Advent candles and wreath can trace their roots back to several Northern European traditions, like many other Christian symbols.  Some of these roots trace back to hundreds of years before Christianity was introduced to the region, but the exact birth of the wreath as a symbol is unknown.  An obvious color of nature, however, the evergreen is believed to signify life persists even through the dread of winter.  Different historians argue a variety of facts and ancestry to try to place the origin of this symbol, but they have not agreed.

Most of the time, you can get Advent candles at your local church, as your church leaders want you to celebrate your faith in your daily life, not just through the church itself.  You may also be able to find these and other artifacts of celebration at a local seller of Christian books and gifts.  Still yet, if you are not satisfied with what you find, you can look online for a variety of colors, styles, and designs.  While most people simply use a basic look, you can opt for something more festive to incorporate into your winter decorations.

This article was published on Friday 26 March, 2010.



Up a level: Liturgical Calendar
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