THE ADVENT WREATH
Most Churches nowadays have an Advent wreath on the altar and families too can make their own. At home it could be used at family meal times when saying grace, or night prayers. It is not just a decoration but a symbol of our awareness of this time of preparation.
|The wreath must be round. Circles have no beginning and no end and it is meant to remind us that God too has no beginning and no end.|
|The wreath must have evergreens, symbolising God’s everlasting love and also that those who love God will have everlasting life with Him.|
|The wreath has four candles, 3 purple and 1pink. Purple symbolises the time of preparation and pink of rejoicing. At family prayer time 1 purple candle is lit each day in first week, 2 purples during second week, 2 purples and the pink during third week, and all four during 4th week. Candles give light and warmth and so they symbolise the light and the love Jesus brought.|
The themes for the weeks are :
Week 1: Expectation
Week 2: Hope
Week 3: Rejoicing at God’s faithfulness
Week 4: Acceptance, as Mary did in saying Yes to God.
There are many ways to make the wreath but as the evergreens need to stay fresh, the simplest is with florist’s OASIS, either a ring or blocks formed into a ring. Soak the oasis, Cover with foil or plastic and stand on a plate. Cover the ring completely with evergreen twigs and leaves. Place the candles and decorate with pine cones, jacaranda pods, purple and pink florists’ ribbon, etc, but not with red, gold and silver streamers which are for Christmas when the Advent wreath can be converted into a colourful table decoration.
There are no set prayers. Some suggestions are given but the wreath can also be used with the readings of the day, or with other advent activities like an advent calendar. Combine with meal time grace and night prayers.
A READING FROM ISAIAH 60:19-20
No longer shall the sun be your light by day, Nor the brightness of the moon shine upon you at night; The Lord shall be your light forever, your God shall be your glory. No longer shall your sun go down or your moon withdraw, for the Lord will be your light forever, and the days of your mourning shall be at an end.
God bless our wreath and be with us as we prepare for the coming of Christ in our hearts and in our home. As we light the candles each day, help us to remember to keep our hearts and lives lit with your love. Amen.
WEEK ONE: Heavenly Father, we light this first Advent candle, a symbol of our preparation for the birth of your son at Christmas. We pray for children that their expectations of life may be met. We pray for happiness and health for our own children and for all those children who have been hurt and neglected by others, who are lonely and in need of your love. Bring your healing light into their world.
WEEK TWO: God, our Father, as we prepare for the birth of your son, we light this second Advent candle and we pray for elderly people that they may experience fulfillment and see hope for the future. We pray for those in our own family, for health and happiness and for those who are widowed, who have been neglected and isolated by friends and families and are lonely and in need of love. Bring your healing light into their world.
WEEK THREE: Heavenly Father, as we light this third Advent candle, we rejoice in the gift of our families. We pray for our own family members that they may achieve their life goals, be fulfilled and happy within themselves and their relationships. We remember all those people who are away from their families, isolated and afraid, that they may experience the joy of family life. Bring your joyful light into their world.
WEEK FOUR: Heavenly Father, as we light this fourth Advent candle, we pray for ourselves that like Mary we may accept your will and ask her to pray for us for the strength to care for the needs of others in our own families and beyond. May your healing light shine through us to those around us. MARFAM 2018