Family Christmas Tradition: The Advent Wreath

One of our favorite, long standing family traditions for Christmas is the Advent Wreath. The Advent Wreath, also done by our church throughout the Christmas season, is a wonderful tool to bring our focus to Christ and what His coming to earth means for us.

 The Advent Wreath is made of a circular wreath of greenery with three purple candles and one pink candle on the outside and a single white candle in the center. All of the parts of the wreath are symbolic. Each week of Advent, one candle is lit on Sunday. The white candle in the center is lit on Christmas Eve.

A description of the Advent wreath and its symbolism

Here is a look at the symbolism of the wreath.

Circular greenery

The circle shape reminds us of God Who is everlasting and has no end. The greenery reminds us of new life, which is what we have in Christ.

Outer candles

Week one- The Prophets candle- The prophets foretold of the Christ Who was to come.

Week two- The Bethlehem candle- The baby was to be born in the city of Bethlehem.  

Week three- The Shepherds candle- This candle is pink because it represents joy. The angels brought good news of great joy to the shepherds in Bethlehem.

Week four- The Angels candle- The angels announced a message of love that has come to earth.

Inner Candle

The inner candle is white. This is the Christ candle. The white stands for purity because Christ was wholly God as well as wholly man, and he is perfect.

This article has a good explanation of the symbolism of the wreath, and it has a short history of the Advent Wreath.

When we light the wreath’s candles each week, we read an appropriate Scripture and sing a Christmas carol that goes along with that week’s reading. We usually sing O Come, O Come, Emmanuel on week one, O Little Town of Bethlehem on week two, Angels We Have Heard on High on week three, and Hark, the Herald Angels Sing for week four. On Christmas Eve, our church uses the song Silent Night when all is dark to symbolize the world without Christ. Then the Christ candle is lit, and we sing Joy to the World. It is fun to include these Christmas carols because some of the traditional carols aren’t as well-known now.

Focus on the Family has some readings for every week of Advent and has some fun activities that you can do as a family throughout the Advent season.

Using the Advent Wreath is a family tradition that we look forward to each year. It gives us time to share God’s love and His plan for us as a family.

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