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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Getting Ready for Advent: The Wreath

Are you planning to use an Advent wreath to help center your Christmas preparations on Christ this year? The Advent wreath is a central sacramental of the season. Many individuals and families center their Advent devotions around the lighting of the wreath. Here are the basics:

An Advent wreath is a circle of greens studded by four equally spaced candles.

The symbolism:
*  The circle represents the fact that God is eternal, with no beginning or end.
*  Each of the candles represents one of the four weeks of Advent.
*  The evergreen branches represent eternal life through Christ.
*  Traditionally, three of the candles are purple, to represent the penitential anture of the season and the fact that we are preparing the way for the birth of a King. The third candle is pink for Gaudete (or Rejoice) Sunday.
*  There may or may not be a white or gold candle call the "Christ candle" in the center of the wreath. 
*  The wreath may be suspended from the ceiling, or a light fixture, by ribbons.  In many 
    homes, the wreath is placed on the table.

The How-To:
Each of the four weeks of Advent, one of the candles is lit in addition to any from preceding weeks.  In other words, the first week you will light one candle, the second week two, and so on.  Candles should be lit in the same order each week.  On each subsequent lighting, the first candle should be the shortest, the second the next shortest, and so on. The third week, you will light the pink candle, so the first week, you won't want to start with a candle that is right next to the pink one. The lighting is usually accompanied by blessings and/or readings. It is traditional to say, "O Come O Come Emmanuel" or "Come Lord Jesus" as the candles are lit. A selection of Advent wreath devotions is here.

Advent starts on Sunday, December 2 this year.  You'll want to get a wreath and candles ready soon. In our family, we have an artificial door wreath that we have used for years.  We set in on a dinner plate (to catch dripping wax). We have added purple ribbons over the years. Among the greens, we place candle holders.

Wreaths can be purchased or made.  They can be artificial or real evergreen wreaths.

Advent candles will need to be purchased well ahead of time. Purple and pink candles have a way of disappearing from the shelves in the first week of Advent. A simple way to find them is to look for devotional jar candles like in the picture above. Tapers can also be used and make for a lovely wreath.


Here are some helpful links for preparing:

Ideas for Making an Advent Wreath:

 Ideas for constructing an Advent wreath

Instructions for making a wreath from fresh boughs

Advent Wreath Crafts for Children:

A child-sized Advent wreath with birthday candles from Catholic Icing (This is a "must click"

A quick and simple printable

Don't forget to visit our Advent 2012 Links Collection.  Bloggers, you are welcome to add your Advent related links.  You'll find the links collection here:

Linked with:
Artful Homemaking


  1. We've never had an Advent wreath, but I love the idea. A friend of mine said it was a great way to get the kids involved, because they love the candles. :) Maybe we'll try it this year!

  2. Beautiful! I'm preparing for Advent...preparing to prepare.


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