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Advent Wreath and its origins. Family Prayer around a ‘home-made’ wreath, presented by Fr.Kevin Walsh. Log on every thursday evening for a realhomilie www.realhomilie.com

26 Nov

 

THE ADVENT WREATH.

Australian Bottle Brush is used here.

 

The Advent Wreath has its origins in the pagan rituals of the peoples of Northern Europe.

During the dark cold days of winter, these pre-Christian peoples gathered to celebrate the winter Solstice from December 21 to the 23.  The main focus of their rituals was a wheel on which they place evergreen branches and lighted candles.  With this symbol, they created a circle of light in the midst of their darkest days and they prayed that the seasons would “turn” and the sun would come “round” again.

With the coming of Christianity the mid-winter candle wheel gradually became the Advent Wreath and the candles were lit, not to anticipate the return of the sun, but rather, the coming of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, and the Light of the World.

In Australia, the Wreath traditionally is created around a circular base symbolizing the never-ending cycle of the seasons and our place in eternal time.  The base is covered with evergreen leaves creating a link with the evergreen Christmas tree, which will supplant it.   The green symbolizes God’s everlasting love for us and the new life which Jesus won for us, and the hope to which we are called.

Four coloured candles are places on the Wreath and are lit in sequence during Advent.  These four candles symbolize that Jesus is the Light of the World and as we watch the candles burn down each week, we are reminded to continue to wait in hope and prepare for the coming of the Lord

The first purple candle lit is the Prophet’s candle, which reminds us of the Old Testament Prophecies about the coming of the Messiah.  This candle also reminds us that Jesus is the Light of the world.

The second candle to be lit is the Bethlehem candle and it serves to remind us of the birthplace of the Messiah.

The third candle, the pink candle, is a symbol of joy.  It reminds us that God loved us so much that he sent his Son to us.  It is called the Shepherds’ Candle in memory of the first people to worship the newborn Jesus. This candle also symbolizes our growing joy and excitement as the birth of Jesus draws near.

Finally, the last purplecandle, the Angels’ Candle is lit and this serves to remind us that the Angels were the heralds of Jesus’ birth.

The white candle, which is placed in the centre of the Wreath, is lit at Christmas to symbolise the coming of Christ into the world.

                                   LIGHTING OF THE ADVENT CANDLES.

                                                                                    THE FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT

Leader:          The Advent wreath will be one of the principal symbols in the church and in our liturgy over the next four weeks of waiting and preparation for Christmas.  Today, we will bless the wreath and light the first candle.

            Before we do so, let us pause and prayer together with longing and waiting for the coming of the Lord.

            (Pause)

Family:           God of grace and promise, at the beginning of the Advent season, we gather as a community to prepare for the coming of Jesus. We ask you now to bless our Advent Wreath and all who gather round it.   May it remind us of the first coming of Jesus in the incarnation, of his continues coming into our hearts and into our world today and of his future coming in glory.

The Advent Wreath and Family are blessed with holy water.

Leader:          May the circle of green leaves which has no beginning and no end, be a sign for us of our place in eternal time and of God’s never ending love for us.

All.      Come Lord Jesus.

Leader:          As we light these candles each week, may our hearts be stirred with hope and expectation at the coming of Jesus.

All.      Come Lord Jesus.

Leader:          May he find us awake and watchful, praying at all times, our lives marked by deeds of love, justice and mercy.

All.      Come Lord Jesus.

The First Candle, the Prophets’ Candle is lit. Christ be our Light, or something similar, is sung.

 PRAYER

Leader:          Let us pray:

            God of integrity, our hearts desire the warmth of your love and our minds are searching for the light of your Word.  Increase our longing for Christ our Saviour and give us the strength to grow in love, that the dawn of his coming may find us rejoicing in his presence and welcoming the light of truth.   We make this prayer in his name and through the power of the Holy Spirit.

All.      Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by on November 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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