Advent Wreath...VICARDOUG
Advent Wreath by Paul Turner



 
An Advent wreath symbolizes our longing for the coming of Christ. The wreath is a circle of evergreen branches into which are set four candles. 

Traditionally,  three candles are violet and one is rose, but four violet  or four white candles may also be used.


The wreath symbolizes many things. Evergreens signify God's enduring promise of  redemption, evident like green branches in the midst of snow. 

The circle signifies our hope for the return of Christ, whose
kingdom will have no end. 

The colors of the candles
match the traditional colors of the vesture for the four
Sundays of Advent. Violet garments signify our 
penitent hope for salvation. The rose color, which may be
worn on Advent's Third Sunday, signals that the sea-
son is nearly over joy is at hand!
The wreath's most luminous symbol is its growing
light. 

One candle is lit on the First Sunday of Advent,
two on the Second, three on the Third and all four on
me Fourth. 

In the northern hemisphere. Advent comes at a time when the days decrease to their shortest
length. As the hours of darkness increase, we light
more candles on the wreath. The wreath, which 
symbolizes the coming of Christ, grows in intensity as the
anniversary of Jesus' birth draws near.


The Advent wreath may be used at home or at church. 

It should be blessed on the First Sunday of Advent after the homily at Mass, at Evening Prayer Saturday night, or during a prayer service that includes
biblical readings and Advent songs. 

At home, the
wreath could be blessed by a family member and lit
during the evening meal to remind everyone of the
true meaning of this holy season.


HOW TO MAKE AN ADVENT WREATH.

The Advent Wreath is very special for a family as we prepare for Christmas.  The circular form of the wreath represents God's eternal and never ending love for us.  There are a variety of ways to make the wreath.  You can use a plate or tray, florist or modeling clay, Styrofoam or wire as the base.  Place some greenery on the round base, add dried flowers, some pine cones, nuts or other natural objects.  You can include purple and pink ribbon for color.

Four candles are placed on the wreath:  three purple and one pink.  While you are lighting the candles, you can recite the weekly prayers below or prayers of your choice.

Beginning the first week of Advent, a purple candle is lit on each day of the week.  The evening meantime which the family is together is the ideal time.  During the second week two purple candles are lit each day.  In the third week of Advent two purple candles and one pink candle are lit.  During the fourth week all four candles are lit.

The purple candles remind us that Advent is a serious time to evaluate our lives and the pink candle tells us we should approach this time with hope and joy.  As each week of Advent passes and the number of candles that are lit increases, we are reminded that Jesus is coming nearer and nearer.  During the season of Advent display your advent Wreath in a place of all to see and be reminded of God's love for us.


See below for directions for making your Advent Wreath and for the prayers used with the wreath.

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PRAYERS TO BE USED AS CANDLES ARE LIGHTED AT THE EVENING MEAL OR WHEN THE FAMILY GATHERS FOR PRAYER.


First week of Advent: Light 1 candle
     Jesus, help us to become like you.  Teach us to leave the darkness behind and to live in your light.  Help us not to hurt each other by our words and actions.  Make us thoughtful and generous so that we can be ready to greet you when you come.  Amen.


Second week of Advent: Light 2 candles
     Jesus, help us to become like you.  May the fire of your love burn in our hearts.  May it help us to prepare the way for you by being kind, forgiving and fair.  Amen.


Third week of Advent:  Light 3 candles
     Jesus, help us to become like you.  May your light shine brightly so we can see you everywhere.   Help us to spread you love and joy by giving freely and happily to all we meet.  Amen.


Fourth week of Advent: Light 4 candles
     Jesus, help us to become like you.  Your mother Mary is our model in her openness to your will.  Open our hearts so we can accept your will in our lives.  Amen.
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