The Advent wreath– a good Advent devotion– originated in the folk practices of the pre-Christian Germanic peoples who gathered wreaths of evergreen and lit fires during the cold December darkness as a sign of hope for spring and new light.
Christians kept these popular traditions. By the 16th century Catholics and Protestants throughout Germany used these symbols to celebrate their Advent hope in Christ, the everlasting Light. From there, the Advent wreath spread to other parts of the Christian world.
Traditionally, the wreath is made of four candles in a circle of evergreens. Each day at home, the candles are lighted, perhaps before the evening meal– one candle the first week, and then another each succeeding week until December 25th. A short prayer may accompany the lighting.
Prayers for an Advent Wreath
The day the wreath is lit the leader may say:
Our nights grow longer and our days grow shorter.
We look at this candle and green branches–
and remember God’s promise to our world:
Christ, our Light and our Hope, will come.
Here are the words of Isaiah the prophet:
The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light;
on those who lived in a land as dark as death a light has dawned.
You have increased their joy and given them gladness;
We rejoice in your presence.
Let us pray:
O God, we rejoice as we remember the promise of your Son,
His light shines on us,
brightening our way, guiding us by his truth.
May Christ our Savior bring light into the darkness of our world,
and to us who wait for his coming.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
O Emmanuel, Jesus Christ,
Desire of all nations.
Savior of all peoples,
Come and dwell with us. Amen.
O King of all nations, Jesus Christ,
Joy of every heart,
Come and save your people. Amen.
O Key of David, Jesus Christ,
Open heaven’s gates,
Come and let your people enter. Amen.
O Wisdom, Word of God, Jesus Christ,
You know all things,
Come and show us the way to salvation. Amen.
Happy New Year, Father Victor! Thank you for helping us carry on with the tradition of the Advent wreath! My Mary garden becomes my Advent wreath this time of year. Thanks for giving us traditional and creative ways to make the preparation for our Lord’s coming glorious.
Tradition and creativity go together.Good step.
From safe attic storage,
I retrieved my Advent wreath.
Ceramic figurines around a circle
With places to put candles.
Easy to display, reminds me to pray.
As we sang in church,”Look East,”
So shall the light of Christ shine.
As surely as the sun rises and sets
Christ will come in love Divine.