Monday, November 21, 2011

The Advent Wreath.

Okay. I am not bypassing Thanksgiving and jumping into Christmas, but I realized that the Sunday after Thanksgiving marks the beginning of Advent, so I figured I would go ahead and write a post about Advent wreaths, in case you are interested in doing one this year. That way you have plenty of time to get it ready before Sunday while still having time to perfect your stuffing and roast your turkey. Or dump your cranberry sauce from a can. Woot!

So. What is an Advent Wreath? Traditionally, it is an evergreen wreath holding/surrounding four pillar candles (sometimes five). Here is one I made a few years ago:

Each candle represents a different aspect of Advent. The word "Advent" means "arrival", so the candles are typically Hope, Joy, Peace, and Love; however, that can change depending on tradition/liturgy/preference. For a more kid-friendly version, the candles represent things like Bethlehem, shepherds, and angels and follows the Christmas story. A candle is lit every Sunday in Advent (four candles for four Sundays), and in newer tradition, a fifth candle is lit on Christmas Morning. This would be especially appropriate this year, since Christmas is on a Sunday morning! Each candle lighting is accompanied by a brief reading and prayer. In my family, it's a great way to anticipate Christmas morning, keeping in mind the actual reason for Christmas, amidst parties and shopping and chaos and such.

That's it! Very simple, yet poignant.

There are several ways to make an Advent Wreath. When I was a kid, we would use real evergreen and stuff it into a styrofoam ring. Now I just use a store-bought wreath and place the taper candles inside of it. Some people ditch the evergreen and use walnuts, ornaments, or twigs instead, but I'm a bit of a traditionalist and like that the evergreen represents everlasting life. It's totally up to you, though--you can be as creative as you'd like!

For the readings, I have two kinds. One is a collection that I partly wrote, partly assembled from other sources (a more grown-up version), and another is the booklet we used when I was a kid (a more kid-friendly version). Every year on this blog I post the grown-up readings each Sunday of Advent and last year I received several emails from friends saying that they found it helpful, so I'm going to do that again this year. And, since my kids are older and this blog is really about doing things that are kid-friendly, I'm going to post the kid-friendly readings (I still have the pamphlet, circa 1991!) every Friday. So, if you're looking for a place to do kid-friendly readings, just check here on Friday and you'll be good to go on Sunday. Or, you can just read Sunday's for a more "grown-up" version!

Disclaimer: The Sunday readings are a compilation of my own writing plus the writings of others. I used different sources and forgot to cite them (I'm a college graduate, I promise) so I'm apologizing now for the lack of proper citation.

I hope that made sense. :)

And that's it!

Have a lovely day.

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