Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Traditions - Advent Wreath

An Advent Wreath with candles was another sign that the Christmas season was here. It would be placed out on our living room table 4 Sundays before Christmas. We would light the first one on that Sunday night, two the next Sunday, three the next and all four on the Sunday before Christmas. On Christmas eve we would light all four and place a big candle in the centre and light that one too.

I loved the smell of those candles. The TV went off, Christmas music came on and we just relaxed and enjoyed the time together. The candles had such a warm glow and created such a cozy atmosphere.

This is a wonderful tradition that I'm carrying forward with my family.

The Advent wreath has some very powerful symbolism which was something I didn't realize growing up. The 4 candles can represent many things. Literally, it represents the 4 Sundays leading up to Christmas. Metaphorically, each candle can also represent 1000 years of the 4000 years that passed between the time Adam and Eve and the birth of Christ.

The candles also remind us to remember those that we love and are with us today and those that have passed on. The candles also have a more formal reminder...
The first candle recalls the Patriarchs; the second recalls the Prophets; the third recalls St. John the Baptist and the final candle recalls Our Lady. The progressive lighting of the candles also symbolizes the growing expectation and hope of Christ coming into the world and the anticipation of his second coming.

We usually used red candles but the symbolism can be carried further by using 3 vilot and one rose coloured one (used on the 3rd week). This represents the colours used by the priests during the mass for that week. Cool.

The circular wreath itself represents eternity and the greenery is symbolizes hope and renewal.

It's such a small thing but it is such a powerful reminder of why we celebrate the Christmas season.

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