The Advent Wreath

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adventcandle1.jpg (4601 bytes) The Advent wreath is a special symbol composed of a wreath of evergreen, in a circle, with 4 candles, 3 purple and one pink.

One candle is lit every night during Advent. One purple one during the first week of Advent, the second purple one nightly during the second week, and so on, until during the fourth week all four candles are lit. Some people also place a large white candle in the center to be lit on Christmas Day.

 

1advents.gif (3998 bytes)The PROPHECY CANDLE is lighted on the First Sunday of Advent and announces the waiting period that anticipates Christmas and honors those who first spoke the promise of the Christ Child.  Their words sparked hope in the hearts of the faithful.
2advents.gif (4039 bytes)The BETHLEHEM CANDLE is lighted the second week and is a symbol of the preparations being made to receive and cradle the Christ Child.
3advents.gif (4154 bytes)The SHEPHERDS' CANDLE is lighted the third week and honors those who were the first to share the Good News.  We continue to hear the Good News in word and song as we celebrate around our star-topped Christmas trees.
4advents.gif (4072 bytes)The ANGELS' CANDLE is lighted the fourth week and is a candle of joy and love - a reminder of the Good News that God has graced the world in the birth of Christ.

star4.gif (851 bytes)The four candles represent the 4,000 years prior to Christ's coming and the four weeks of Advent.

star4.gif (851 bytes)The unlighted candles represent the dark ages before Christ's coming.

star4.gif (851 bytes)The purple candles are for the sorrow we feel for not loving Jesus enough.

star4.gif (851 bytes)The pink candle is for the joy surrounding the impending birth of Jesus.

star4.gif (851 bytes)The evergreen symbolizes God is with us always and will never change.

star4.gif (851 bytes)The circle symbolizes that God is eternal, with no beginning and no end.

star4.gif (851 bytes)The light of the candles reminds us that Jesus is the light of the world, and soon we will celebrate the day of His birth.

 

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Prayer While Lighting the Wreath

WEEK ONE
PREPARATION

“So be on the watch. Pray constantly for the strength to stand secure before the Son of Man.”
Luke 2 1:36

IN THE FIRST WEEK OF ADVENT, we prepare, ourselves for the Lord’s coming into our world and into our lives. We ask, ”In what area of my life do I stand at a distance from God?” We examine our relationships with my friends, classmates, business associates, and neighbors. Is our faith reflected in each experience of human contact? Is love of God and neighbor the basis for our interaction with others? (Light the first candle)

PRAYER

Almighty and loving God, we have searched our hearts and reviewed our love for Your people. Some relationships overflow with love while others have been found wanting. Yet it is our desire that You be a part of every human experience. We begin now to fill our hearts with Your love and sharpen our awareness of Your presence in every moment so that wherever we go and whatever we do, we will always stand secure before You.

Amen

 

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 WEEK TWO
PREPARATION

"Make ready the way of the Lord. Clear Him a straight path." Luke 3:4

IN THE SECOND WEEK OF ADVENT, we consider our relationships with ourselves and with God. We ask, "Do I always appreciate the union of the divine and the human that makes me who I am?" Are we aware of the wonder of "self," the gift bestowed upon us by our Creator? Do we appreciate and use our talents, energies, charms, and abilities for God’s glory? In prayer and worship, are we in touch with the divine presence around us? (Light the second candle)

PRAYER

Almighty and loving God, You Who dwell within our hearts at every waking moment, keep us always close to You. Help us to recognize and appreciate the gifts and talents You have given us. Teach us to use our energies for the good of others and the glory of Your Son Jesus, Whose promise is too precious to ignore. Keep our hearts and minds ever alert to Your personal and loving touch in every prayer in every act of worship.

Amen

 

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WEEK THREE
PREPARATION

“He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and in fire.” Luke 3:16

IN THE THIRD WEEK OF ADVENT, we are called to respond to the gifts and graces we received in our baptism. We ask, ‘Does my life today fulfill the expectations and responsibilities of bearing the name of Christian?” What are we doing for the hungry, the oppressed, the sick, the lonely? Do we truly care about the needs of others? Do we accomplish cheerfully all that is expected of us in the work place or the classroom? (Light the third candle)

PRAYER

Almighty and loving God, Your Son has taught us the way to live as Your children. We were blessed in our baptisms with special gifts and graces, and still there are times when we find it hard to be all that we should be. We ask for an increased awareness of the needs of others and for the courage to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. Please, God, help us to so live in Your grace that all who know us will know You and Your love.

Amen

 

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WEEK FOUR
PREPARATION

“Blest is she who trusted that the Lord’s words to her would be fulfilled.” Luke 1:45

IN THE FOURTH WEEK OF ADVENT, we consider Mary’s trust in God’s promise, her joy in His goodness to her. We ask, “Am I ready to receive and celebrate the coming of the Son of God? “We have considered our relationships, our love of God and God’s love for us, and we have responded with an awakened concern for the needs of others. Now we may echo Mary’s words: "My being proclaims the greatness of the Lord. My spirit finds joy in God my Savior." (Light the fourth candle).

PRAYER

Almighty and loving God, soon the whole world will celebrate the birth of Your Son Jesus. Even as we rejoice in our remembrance of His birth at Bethlehem, we find greater comfort in His promise to come again. May our preparations for this wondrous season remain with us, increase in us, and become as much a part of us as our breathing and our heartbeat. Then may we say “come, Lord Jesus, we are ready”

Amen

 

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