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The Advent Wreath
The Advent Wreath is the widely recognized symbol of Advent.
The wreath is made of a circle of evergreen branches laid flat to symbolize eternal life. Four candles (traditionally red) stand in the circle and each one represents one of the four Sundays of Advent. In the centre of the circle is a fifth candle (traditionally white), the Christ Candle, which is lit on Christmas Day.
The circle of the wreath reminds Christians of God, His eternity and endless mercy, which has no beginning or end.
The green of the wreath speaks of the hope that Christians have in God, the hope of newness, of renewal, of eternal life.
Advent worship is like a journey through the Christmas story. Christians use the Advent candles to celebrate this period with one lit every Sunday of Advent so that during the last week before Christmas all four candles are lit. The last central candle (which represents Christ), is lit on Christmas Day.
Candles symbolise the light of God coming into the world through the birth of His son, Jesus.
The four traditional advent themes for the four advent Sundays are:
- God's people -The Candle of Hope.
Hope is like a light shining in a dark place. As we look at the light of this candle we celebrate the hope we have in Jesus Christ.
- The old testament prophets - The Candle of Peace
Peace is like a light shining in a dark place. As we look at this candle we celebrate the peace we find in Jesus Christ.
- John the Baptist - The Candle of Love
Love is like a candle shining in a dark place. As we look at the light of this candle we celebrate the love we have in Christ.
- Mary the mother of Jesus - The Candle of Joy
Joy is like a light shining in a dark place. As we look at this candle we celebrate the joy we find in Jesus Christ.
The fifth candle represents the birth of Christ. The flame of this candle remind us that He is the light of the world and that if we follow Him, we will never walk in darkness, but will have the true light of life.
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During Advent, some people make or buy Advent calendars as a way of counting the days to Christmas. Usually these calendars have twenty-four 'windows'.
The calendars do not necessarily start from the beginning of Advent. Advent Calendars always start on 1 December.
Traditional calendar windows open up to show a picture of something linked with this time of year. One may show an angel or one of the shepherds who visited baby Jesus. Others may show pictures of Christmas presents, a candle or anything else to do with Christmas. The last window to be opened usually shows Jesus himself, lying in a manger.
Popular advent calendars today usually have chocolate hidden behind each window. The theme/ picture displayed is a character from a TV show or film.
Click here to visit our interactive advent calendar
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