The Advent Wreath
The Advent wreath is a traditional centrepiece of the Christmas season. A candle is lit on each of the four Sundays preceding Christmas. The first candle (violet) represents hope, the second (violet) peace, the third (rose) joy, and the fourth (violet) love. The central white candle is lit on Christmas Day and represents Christ.
The wreath itself is also symbolic. The circle of evergreen in which the candles are placed represents everlasting life. The seedpods, nuts and cones used to decorate the wreath are symbolic of life and resurrection, the laurel signifies victory over persecution and suffering, pine and holly signify immortality, and fruits (such as apples) represent the nourishing fruitfulness of the Christian life.
The word ‘advent’ means ‘coming’; lighting the candles on the Advent wreath symbolises the coming of Light (Jesus) into the world. The Advent Wreath teaches us about Christian preparation for celebrating Jesus’ birth and making our hearts truly ready to receive Him.
The Caritas Advent Wreath
Throughout Advent, you will build your own wreath by selecting individual elements (evergreens, holly, pine cones, apples, laurel, nuts and seedpods) that will be added to your wreath each day. On Sundays, you will light the appropriate candle(s) and on Christmas Day the final white candle will be lit.
If you want to make your own physical wreath as well as your virtual wreath, for example with your family or Parish community, download this how to guide for instructions.
Making the Advent Wreath a Daily Custom
The Advent wreath helps us keep our thoughts focused on the coming of Christ at Christmas, so we should integrate it into our daily activities. Set this Advent web calendar as your home page throughout Advent, so that you are reminded each day to visit it.
The Gospel text for each day of Advent is from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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