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Advent Wreath Traditions

The word Advent wreath has its roots in the Latin word “ adventus”, which means, ”coming”. Here this word in the biblical sense means, time to prepare for the occasion of Christmas. This is also the time for one’s self examination and prayer as church prepares for Jesus’ second coming.

An Advent is a circular wreath made of evergreen leaves, signifying eternity of God, with no beginning or end. The wreath also symbolizes continuous life. The laurels signify victory over suffering; pine, yew and hull, immortality; and cedar, strength and healing. The prickly leaves remind us of the crown of thorns. The pines, cones, nut symbolize life and resurrection. Overall the wreath signifies the immortality of the soul and everlasting life promised in form of coming of Christ into this world to relieve mankind of its sins, through his death and resurrection.

The four candles represent four weeks of advent. One week equals to 1000years and hence it sums up to 4000 years from Adam and Eve until the birth of the Savior. Three purple colored and one rose colored candles are traditionally lit, progressively on every Sunday. This act signifies the hope surrounding, His, first coming and anticipation of second coming on the judgment day. The light of candle symbolizes, Jesus Christ, the light of the world.

In a traditional way, after blessing of food the wreath is lit and prayer service is offered on the first Sunday of the advent by father of the family, by praying: O God, by whose all things are sanctified, pour forth Thy blessing upon the wreath and grant that we who use it may prepare of hearts for coming of Christ and may receive from Thee abundant graces. Who lives and reins forever, Amen,” He then continues for each days of the first week of advent, O Lord, stir up Thy protection we may deserve to be reserved from threatening dangers of our sins and saved by thy deliverance. Who lives and reigns forever. Amen”. The young child lights up one purple candle.

During the second week, the father prays: O Lord, stir up our hearts then we may prepare for Thy only begotten son, that through his coming we may be made worthy to serve Thee with pure minds. Who lives and reigns forever. Amen”. The oldest child then lights up the purple candle from first week, plus one purpler candle.

During the third week of, the father prays: O Lord we beg thee, incline Thy ear to our prayers and enlighten the darkness of our minds by grace of Thy visitation. Who lives and reigns forever. Amen”. The mother than lights the two previously lit purple candles, plus the rose candle.

Finally on fourth week of advent, the father prays, O Lord, stir up thy power, we pray Thee, and come and with great might help us, that with the help of Thy grace, Thy merciful forgiveness may hasten our sins impede. Who lives and reins forever, Amen”. The father then lights all of candles of the wreath. Advent is time of cleansing our soul, purifying our thoughts and actions, to celebrate Christmas is true Godly way.

This article was published on Saturday 16 May, 2009.



Up a level: Liturgical Calendar
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