Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Why Should You Have a Beautiful Advent Wreath?

red candles with gold tree backgroundWe are in the full season of Christmas and part of that in our family is lighting the Advent Candles on our Christmas wreath.

The meaning of the candles and the wreath as a meditation for Christmas and beyond.  

Most people recognize an Advent Wreath when they see them.  They can be made out of many different types of materials.  The most common are evergreens, but there are many other beautiful options.  The wreath (round just by it's name)  usually has 4 candle holders spaced evenly around the wreath.   These four candles are usually in purple and pink( 3 purple and one pink), for religious celebrations of Advent.  Some have a central larger candle in White.  Other Advents wreaths can have red or white candles or whatever color you happen to like.

What's the significance of the colors in a Religious Advent Wreath?

Advent is a time of waiting and preparation.  Purple is the color of both Advent and Lent in religious ceremonies.  Both  of these seasons Liturgically are waiting periods.  Advent we wait for the coming of the Saviour in the stable and Lent we wait for the Resurrection from the Grave.  Let's focus on Christmas and Advent right now.

Each candle has it's own meaning.

  1.  The 1st Sunday of Advent is for Hope (purple)
  2.   The 2nd Sunday is for Peace (purple)
  3.   The 3rd Sunday is for Joy (pink)(it's pink because the light of the two other candles illuminates this week a little bit more and joy is bright)
  4.   The 4th Sunday is for Love (purple)
  5.   Christmas Day the center candle is lit, if you have an Advent wreath with 5 candles.  This central candle (usually in white) represents the Christ, the Saviour whose birthday we celebrate at this time.
The way we use our wreath, is to light one candle on the first Sunday, two on the second Sunday, three on the Third Sunday and all four candles on the Fourth Sunday.  For this reason it is advisable to use a good sized candle or long tapers.  After 4 weeks the first candle will be considerably smaller than the other 3.

If you want to increase the religious aspect of Advent, you can use Bible verses as a meditation for each of the four weeks, or sing some Christmas carols that speak more to the coming of the Saviour rather than  Santa Claus.  There are also some lovely Advent prayers to be found on You Tube and I have selected one for you with music.  The sound is soothing and a reminder of what Christmas is all about!  Check it out right here, and bookmark it if you like so that you have it for all 4 weeks.

Quiet Meditative Time 

advent at ephesusChristmas with all it's hustle and bustle can sometimes overwhelm children, parents and other members of the family.  Do you ever wonder why you seem to see so many children having emotional meltdowns at this time of year.  I personally think it has a lot to do with sensory overload and children not having the coping mechanisms in place to deal with it all.

You might find yourself in that position of having to back away from all the noise, lights, music and people.  Taking some quality quiet time for yourself during this hectic time, is not only a great idea, but a necessity for some.  Everyone is different and will relate to the stimulus differently too.  One thing I do know from my own experience is that taking the time to light one candle for every weekend before Christmas is necessary for my well being.  It's a quiet meditative time for me and a way to refresh and renew my sagging spirit.

If you want to know more about sensory overload or aren't sure if that's what has you in it's grips, there is a great article here on Healthline.  It's worth the time it takes to read it. Not only will it help you to understand this malady, but it will also give you some coping mechanisms.  If you are looking for a more "spiritual way" to cope then I would recommend this article on Seasonal Depression and coping.

When you are faced with this "overload" and you know which methods of coping work for you, then it's time to put it into practice.  This is where my Advent Wreath plays a central role.  For me, coping with the seasonal overload means finding some quiet time, and meditating(some might call it praying).  Christmas for me has always been a "spiritual time" and while I love some of the more secular things about Christmas, I still try to keep it as a spiritual time in my home.  I have to do this for my own peace of mind and you might just find some peace if you try this too!

Advent Wreath with yellow candles

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  1. Beautiful article. I love the symbolism of the advent calendar. We have always had one at church, but I’d never considered having one in my home. Great idea.

    1. Thank you Mary Beth, if you decide to have a wreath at home, just make sure you are in the room when the candles are can never be too safe. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

  2. I liked your explanation of an advent wreath and the significance of the colors.

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it Miss Elf. With all the craziness in my life right now, my Christmas wreath is a meditation that I desperately need. Sometimes I won't wait for Sundays, I will light the candle for the week and enjoy it's warm light in my life.

  3. What a beautiful and spiritual tradition! I have seen advent wreaths, but have never known the meaning or the tradition of lighting specific candles on specific days. It reminds me of the menorah. We need to focus on Christ the Savor's birth on Christmas and this is a wonderful way to sharpen that focus throughout the season.

    1. Very true Miss Sylvestermouse, many Christian traditions have their roots in Judaism and yes the wreath is very close to the Menorahs used in Jewish celebrations of Light. Our Christmas wreath is a central part of our preparation for the season of Love, where the Christ child came to us. This Christmas is particularly stressful for us, so we enjoy the warmth of the candle reminding us that we are part of something so much greater than we ourselves could ever hope to be.....Blessings to you during this Wonderful Advent and Christmas time.

  4. We don't use the Advent wreath but I think I might like to start that tradition. I knew the significance of the purple and pink but did not know about the 5th one being white. Very nice explanation of the meaning and tradition of Advent. Thank you!

    1. It is a lovely tradition Beverly and one that doesn't require a big cash outlay. Your wreath can be as simple as 4 (or 5) candles placed on your mantle or dining area. The significance comes in the meditation and prayers. Glad you enjoyed the explanation.

  5. Interesting post. I had no idea that was why the candles were different colors. I'm glad to have a better understanding of Advent Wreaths.

  6. Glad I could help you understand the significance. The Advent wreath in the time leading up to Christmas can play a very important role in awakening your spiritual child to the wonders of the season.

  7. Bringing back memories of our family Advent wreath :)

    1. Should rekindle an old family memory and make it a new one again. It really helps to mark the season and the passing time towards Christmas.

  8. Olivia, I should have known about the colors, but either forgot or never absorbed that part in Religion class in school lol. Two colors I love, pink and purple, ok that explains it. My bedroom as a young girl was purple, pink, and white! A coincidence, lol, I think not! You're so right about down time. I find myself changing substantially on the inside now in regards to how I view Christmas. Always holy and peace filled, but I no longer have that type-A personality to do things up perfectly - um, instead, my husband has that now! I created a monster. lol. I'm very much into calmness, and will take it wherever I can find it. That's my favorite part about the holidays.

    1. Get an Advent wreath and mark the days in calm, peace, a little meditation and you will enjoy Christmas all the more. It's easy to do, either make one or purchase one ready made and set it out. It will also add to the Christmas decor of your home.


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