THE ORIGIN OF THE ADVENT WREATH
The origins of the Advent wreath are found in the folk practices of the pre-Christian Germanic peoples who, during the cold December darkness of Eastern Europe, gathered wreaths of evergreen and lighted fires as signs of hope in a coming spring and renewed light.
Christians kept these popular traditions alive, and, by the 16th century, used these symbols to celebrate their Advent hope in Christ, the everlas…ting Light. From Germany the use of the Advent wreath spread to other parts of the Christian world.
Traditionally, the wreath is made of four candles in a circle of evergreens. The circle represents Eternity – God’s life and love. The evergreen leaves represent Life as we wait for the coming of our Redeemer.
The first 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.
Finally, all four Advent Candles will be lit in sequence. The Prophets’ candle, then the Bethlehem candle, then the Shepherds’ candle and, finally, the last purple candle will be lit.
The last candle is the Angels’ Candle and it serves to remind us that the Angels were the heralds of Jesus’ birth.
Together, all four candles symbolize that Jesus is the Light of the world.
REFLECTION….LIGHT TO KEEP WATCH:
We need light,
that will change the nights into day
and will keep us awake and ready
to reconcile those separated
by wars and hatred;
to give bread and love,
to those who hunger for justice;
to offer friendship and respect
to those who know only rejection and contempt;
to bring to hopeless nights
the light of hope and the victory of life.
Jesus Christ, who knocks on the door of our hearts
is the light that keeps us awake,
that shines in the night of our doubts to show us
the way, and gives strength to our tired hearts,
and fills us with loving security, knowing that he
always stands at our door and knocks….it is up to
us, to let Him into our lives……