The Christmas season often inspires anticipation. Advent precedes Christmas by building excitement as Christians wait expectantly to welcome the Christ child. Celebrate Advent with its wreath and candles, which symbolise hope, peace, joy, love and Christ. Participate in a centuries-old Christian Christmas tradition as you light each Advent candle.
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Things you need
- Advent wreath
- 4 purple tapers
- 1 rose taper
- 1 white taper
- Advent scripture readings and prayers
Initiate your Advent celebration four Sundays before Christmas Day. Use a standard Christmas wreath as an Advent wreath. Place the wreath on a table in your home. Place four candle holders in the wreath's needles.
Add candles to your Advent wreath according to traditional order. Place purple candles, symbolising hope, peace and love, in that order, one on each of the first two Sundays and on the fourth Sunday. Light a rose candle, which symbolises joy, on the third Sunday. Light candles from previous Sundays before lighting the candle of the current week.
Read from biblical passages on each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. Read from Matthew 1:1-18, for example, to set the tone that Jesus was descended from Abraham and the lineage of King David. Read the Annunciation of Christ's birth from Luke 1:26-35 on the second Sunday of Advent. Continue your Advent candle lighting ceremonies by reading from Luke 2:1-5, which describes the beginning of Mary's and Joseph's journey to Caesar Augustus' enrolment. Read from the Nativity narrative in Matthew 2:1-11 on the fourth Sunday.
Light the white candle, symbolising Christ, in the centre of the wreath on Christmas Day. Read the story of the shepherds and the angels in Luke 2:6-20. Say a joyful and grateful prayer for God's generous gift on Christmas Day.
Tips and warnings
- Take turns lighting the candles and reciting prayers and readings.
- Extinguish Advent candles after each week's ceremony.
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- ChurchYear.net: Advent Wreath Prayers and Scripture Readings: Lighting of the Advent Wreath
- Cryption: The Advent Wreath: Prayers and Customs of Advent Christmas
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: New American Bible Online Matthew Chapter 1
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: New American Bible Online Luke Chapter 1
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: New American Bible Online Luke Chapter 2