Infinity Goods blog

A blog for God’s People

Three Purple Candles, A Pink One And A Wreath

Posted by infinitygoods on November 26, 2007



from-flickr-public-files-advent-wreath-by-annalena-brych.jpgAdvent 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?

For a list of all the Works For Me Wednesday participants, head over to Rocks in My Dryer.

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7 Responses to “Three Purple Candles, A Pink One And A Wreath”

  1. jennifer said

    We did this when I was little. I loved doing it. Thanks for reminding me.

  2. tonsofsons said

    Do you buy a certain Advent wreath? If not, how do you put the candles on the wreath?

  3. Heather said

    Thanks so much for entering my giveaway for the Mary Kay Satin Hands set. Unfortunately, you weren’t the winner. Since you were the only one who said they had never tried Satin Hands before, I’d love to send you a free sample! Just e-mail me with your snail mail if you’re interested!

    I have so many wonderful memories of lighting the Advent wreath at church when I was growing. I grew up in a small country church and we gathered fresh ground pine to put on a suspended wagon wheel. We had to spritz the ground pine with water to keep it fresh. One year, it wasn’t fresh enough because it caught on fire during the worship service!

  4. infinitygoods said

    Heather, thank you for the offer of a sample. That’s very kind.

    Yikes, the wagon wheel on fire during service! From what I’ve read the early Christians used wagon wheels and decorated them with evergreens too. It was a left over from pagan days.

  5. infinitygoods said

    Tons of Sons: You can use any wreath you want, including the real evergreen ones you would hang on a door. Just tuck in some candle holders or a fancy charger to place your larger pillar candles on. They also sell special insert Advent candle holders shaped in a circle and with four small cup holders for tappers, or you can get a ready-made Advent wreath. I have three: a glass one from Sweden in the shape of a heart, embossed with evergreens which I bought as a newlywed; a tiny brass one with 4 angels each holding a candle, and with the heat of the candles makes a tiny windmill turn above and strike 4 tiny bells. This one is very small and is mostly for decoration and to be used with close supervision because the candles are just as tiny. It was given to us by my mother-in-law who received it as a gift from her church. The third one was made by our son a few years ago at church during a special Advent craft day for the children. It has that metal insert candle holder with artificial evergreen garland cut to size and in a circle and silk poinsettias and a big bow. It was a big hit with the children because it was very easy for them to make, even for the younger ones and their end result looked spectacular, so they were very proud of their accomplishment. As I told the Religious Education Coordinator the next day when she asked for feedback, it was something that not just a mother could love, but that could be proudly displayed on the dining room table and for all the guests to honestly ooh and ahh over.

  6. Drew said

    What does the purple and pink mean? Can someone tell me, or I’ll fail my speech! Please! It’s today!!!!!!!! Ahhhh!

  7. infinitygoods said

    Drew: The candles for the 1st, 2nd and 4th week are purple to remind us of the penitential nature of the Advent season, much like the purple during the season of Lent. We are preparing for and reflecting on the coming of Christ. The 3rd week, traditionally called Gaudette Sunday is pink to show a lighter and happier tone at the season of Advent is nearly over and Christ’s coming is very near. We use candles to symbolize the light that Christ brings to the world.

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