Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Advent Wreath

Tell us if you are he w
ho is to reign over the people of Israel?
--from The Roman Breviary, Matins responsory, First Sunday of Advent
Here is a link from Fish Eaters about making an Advent wreath, with accompanying meditations. And Fr. William Saunders gives some background as well:
The Advent wreath is part of our long-standing Catholic tradition. However, the actual origins are uncertain. There is evidence of pre-Christian Germanic peoples using wreathes with lit candles during the cold and dark December days as a sign of hope in the future warm and extended-sunlight days of Spring. In Scandinavia during Winter, lighted candles were placed around a wheel, and prayers were offered to the god of light to turn “the wheel of the earth” back toward the sun to lengthen the days and restore warmth.

By the Middle Ages, the Christians adapted this tradition and used Advent wreathes as part of their spiritual preparation for Christmas. After all, Christ is “the Light that came into the world” to dispel the darkness of sin and to radiate the truth and love of God (cf. John 3:19-21). By 1600, both Catholics and Lutherans had more formal practices surrounding the Advent wreath.


1 comment:

Alexandra said...

Thanks for the reminder. I need to get a proper one this year. I usually create one from candle sticks and juniper, but this year "little hands" prevent me from having anything that is easily disassembled.