Advent - Christmas
The Advent Wreath
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Lighting of the Advent wreath is one of our most popular Advent traditions. Its origin is in pre-Christian Germany and Scandinavia where the people gathered to celebrate the return of the sun after the winter solstice. The circular wreath made of evergreens with four candles interspersed represented the circle of the year and the life that endures through the winter. As the days grew longer, people lit candles to offer thanks to the "sun god" for the light. For us, the lighting of the Advent candles represents the promise of the coming of Jesus, the light of the world. As the light of the Advent wreath grows, we share in the expectation of Isaiah, of John the Baptist and of Mary for the fulfillment of God's promise to send a savior. We look forward to the coming of Jesus who pierces the darkness of sin by the light of his love.

How to Make an Advent Wreath
Begin with a round piece of Styrofoam, available at craft shops, and cut four evenly spaced holes into which you will place the four candles. Traditionally there are three purple candles and one rose candle (for the third Sunday), but blue candles can also be used. Purple reminds us to turn our hearts toward God; rose is a color of joy. You'll find it helpful to place the Styrofoam circle on a pizza-pan or round cookie sheet covered with foil so that you can easily move your wreath to and from the table. Place fresh evergreen branches over the Styrofoam. Replace them when they dry out in order to preserve the symbolism of the vitality of God's love. Encourage the children to participate as they are able, by gathering branches, placing the candles and so on.

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