Making an advent wreath is easy, and a great way to involve children in preparing for the celebration of our Lord’s birth.
Advent begins on Sunday 2 December
An advent wreath is a visible reminder that the joyful celebration of our Lord’s birth is nearing, and we need to prepare our hearts to receive Him. Why not make your own, ready for the beginning of Advent on Sunday 2 December?
You’ll need a circular garland of evergreen branches (representing eternity) and some candles – three purple in colour, one pink and one white arranged as shown. Seedpods, nuts and cones, symbolic of resurrection and new life, may be used to decorate the wreath, as well as fruits representing the fruitfulness of the Christian life.
On the first Sunday of Advent, you may sprinkle the wreath with holy water and bless it before lighting the first purple candle – the Prophecy Candle – in remembrance of the prophets who foretold the birth of Christ. “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)
On the second Sunday of Advent we light the second purple candle as well as the first. This is the “Bethlehem Candle” which reminds us of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem.
Prayer for the 2nd week of Advent:
O Lord, stir up our hearts
that we may prepare for Thy only begotten Son,
that through His coming we may be made worthy
to serve Thee with pure souls.
Through the same Christ our Lord.
The Third Sunday of Advent is Gaudete Sunday, the ‘pink candle’ Sunday, the Sunday we light the pink candle on our Advent wreath. Gaudete comes from the Latin verb gaudere (to rejoice). It is a command ordering us to rejoice!
In these days of penance and preparation leading up to the feast of our Savior’s birth, it reminds us of the joy that is to come, and serves, amid this season of penance, as a kind of ‘break’ when we recall the hope we have because of the coming of Jesus.
On the fourth Sunday, we light all four candles – the fourth purple candle is the “Angel’s Candle” symbolizing peace by reminding us of the message of the angels: “Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men.”
On Christmas Day, Christmas we light all four candles as well as the central white one, to symbolise the arrival of the “Light of the World”.
Christmas Day prayer
God our Father
Today the Saviour is born
and those who live in darkness are seeing a great light.
Help us, who greet the birth of Christ with joy
to live in the light of your Son
and to share the good news of your love.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, the “Light of the world”.