December 12, 2011

Ten Traditions of Christmas - Advent Wreath

ad·vent --  the period beginning four Sundays before Christmas,  
observed in commemoration of the coming of Christ into the world.

Advent was established in the sixth century as a means to reflect on the meaning of Christmas and was a time that new believers would prepare themselves for baptism.  It was four weeks set aside to ponder and contemplate personally what the coming of Christ meant to every believer.  To early Christians, three things were the focus of the Advent season:

  1. The coming of the Son of God to earth in humanly form as a babe in the manger.
  2. The coming of Jesus into the hearts of those who would accept him as Savior.
  3. The future coming of Christ to reign his kingdom.
The wreath began as a symbol of faith for believers in northern  Europe who were forced to endure harsh winters.  They saw the evergreen in it's ever-living form and believed it was a great representation of sustaining faith.  They would bring limbs in during the season of Advent and would lite candles to mark the weeks of the season.  The light represents the light that Christ brings to the world.

The custom spread throughout Europe, and eventually worldwide.  Today three purple candles are used as symbols of hope, peace, and love, with the final candle sometimes being red to represent the blood of Jesus, sacrificed for all, or white to represent Jesus birth.

Does your family celebrate with an Advent Wreath?

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