Three Purple Candles, A Pink One And A Wreath
Posted by infinitygoods on November 26, 2007
Advent starts this Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007. A tradition we celebrate in our home is the Advent wreath. It’s time to gather our candles and our wreath. We light our candles daily rather than just on Sundays, so I have found that small pillars work better than tapers as we go through too many tapers too quickly otherwise. I’ve also found that picking varying heights for the candles makes for a pretty centerpiece while serving the need since one purple candle will be used for four weeks and the last purple candle for only one week.
Advent comes from the Latin words, AD (to) VENIRE (come). During the Advent season we prepare ourselves spiritually for the coming of the Christ Child. The candles symbolize the light that The Christ Child will bring to the world. The circular, unending shape of the wreath symbolizes eternity and the everlasting nature of God. Decorations of the wreath are to symbolize that Christ brings each of us hope, beauty and life.
Here’s how to celebrate this tradition. It’s very simple, so don’t be intimidated if you’ve never followed this tradition.
First Week (Sun. Dec. 2): FAITH — Light one purple candle at dinner time (or each meal) and say a prayer. There are no official prayers, so you can use a favorite prayer, say grace, use one from the many Advent pamphlets published or even make up your own focusing on the week’s theme.
Second Week (Sun. Dec. 9): HOPE — Light two purple candles and say a prayer.
Third Week (Sun. Dec. 16): JOY — Light two purple candles and one pink candle; and say a prayer.
Fourth Week (Sun. Dec. 23): PEACE — Light three purple candles and one pink candle; and say a prayer.
Christmas Day (Tues. Dec. 25): LOVE — On Christmas morning, either light 4 white candles (my preference to symbolize Christ, the joy and celebration of Christmas) or some people light 3 purple candles, a pink candle and a white candle in the center. Say a prayer. These candles are lighted for the 12 days of Christmas until Epiphany (traditionally on January 6).
That is all there is to it. We keep our wreath lighted throughout our meals. If you are used to this tradition or not afraid of a little more devotion after your family’s meal, you could gather around the wreath to read the Bible, read Advent devotions, read the writings of influential spiritual writers, or read some Christmas stories and poems such as O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi” and T.S. Eliot’s The Journey of the Magi.” You could even sing some of the songs you heard in church.
How do you celebrate the coming of the Christ Child who is our light? What are your Advent Season traditions or memories? Or if you are Jewish or celebrate Jewish traditions in addition to Christian ones, what are your traditions to prepare for Hanukkah?
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