Posted December 04, 2013 in Advent and Christmas:
The Advent Wreath

by Catherine Doherty.

The first thing to begin Advent with is the Advent Wreath. It can be made of any kind of greenery found in your part of the world.

Traditionally, it is made of evergreens, which represent everlasting life. Its circular shape, without beginning or end, represents eternity. Use your ingenuity to create the base for the greens.

On the circle of greens are fastened four candles, which represent the four Sundays of Advent. Three of the candles should be purple and one pink or rose-colored.

The purple stands for a spirit of penance and prayer during the season. The rose candle is for the third Sunday of Advent, sometimes called Rose Sunday or Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is Latin for ‘rejoice,’ and is taken from the Entrance Antiphon on that Sunday:

"Rejoice in the Lord always!"

The Advent Wreath should be displayed in a prominent place and lit daily when the family is together, perhaps before dinner.

The first candle is lit during the first week of Advent by the youngest able member of the family. The second week’s candle is lit by the oldest child. The mother of the family lights it the third week, and the father of the family the fourth.

Catherine recalled that, "When I was a little girl growing up in Russia, while the candles on our Advent wreath were lit, my father would slowly and reverently read the Epistle and Gospel of the day.

He wove the old and the new, the end and the beginning, the Old Law and the New, into a chain of meditations and prayers that would hold all of us together for the rest of our mortal lives.

One candle burned on our Advent wreath the first week of Advent. Another was lit as each week passed, until all four were glowing!"

From Donkey Bells, (2000), pp. 56-57, available from MH Publications


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