For as long as I can remember, we have made our own Advent wreath. We would put it together at the Advent workshop at our church. My mother provides the evergreens, leaves and holly branches for the whole workshop with cuttings from our yard. We aren’t as diligent about lighting the candles as we use to be but we still make it the centerpiece of our dining room table.
It wasn’t until this year that I found out about the full origins of the wreath. Like a lot of Christian traditions, its roots date back to the pre-Christian era. During the festival of the winter solstice, candles were put on a wheel and lit to signify the lengthening of the days. I find this interesting that we still use the wheel shape and the lighted candles to signify coming out of darkness into “new light”, which is highly symbolic in the Christian faith with Christ being the light of the world.
Advent Wreath Blessing:
O God, bless our wreath and be with us as we prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ. As we light the candle each day, help us to keep our own hearts burning with your love.
Liguori Publications Prayer Service, Simple Blessings for Sacred Moments; A Collection by Isabel Anders