A 36 page Advent and Christmas Resource book for Primary Schools is now available for download.
Click the link to download Primary School Resources for Advent and Christmas 2008
THE ADVENT WREATH HELPS US TO GET READY TO WELCOME JESUS
Long ago, before Jesus was born, during the dark days of December, the people of Eastern Europe gathered wreaths of evergreen branches and lit fires as a sign of hope and a reminder that spring was on its way. This tradition was adopted by the Christians and by the 1600s the Advent Wreath was used throughout Germany to mark the time spent waiting for the birth of the Christ child at Christmas. From Germany this tradition spread to the rest of the world.
WHAT DOES THE ADVENT WREATH MEAN?
Usually the Advent Wreath is made of four candles, three purple and one pink. They are lit in the following order; week 1 and 2 purple, week 3, pink and week 4 purple. The candles remind us that Jesus is the light of the world. The colour purple is used because long ago purple dye was very expensive and purple became a colour that was associated with royalty. Advent is the season of the coming of the King. The pink one is lit on the Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday. Long ago Advent was a time of fasting like Lent. On the Third Sunday there was a break from this fast and the priests wore rose or pink coloured vestments. So that tradition became a part of the Advent Wreath. As we light the candles each week we are made aware of our journey through this season. Placing the candles in a circle is symbolic of God’s love for us, a love that has no beginning or end. The use of the evergreen leaves around the candles reminds us that God’s love is everlasting.
TO MAKE AN ADVENT WREATH
You will need
- An empty biscuit tin covered in green paper and filled with damp sand
- Evergreen branches
- Four candles: three purple and one pink.
- Purple Ribbon for decoration
Place the candles at intervals in the sand. Place evergreen branches between and around the candles to cover the sand. Use the purple ribbon to decorate.
BLESS THE ADVENT WREATH
You might like to invite the priest or chaplain to bless the Advent Wreath. The following prayer may be used. Use Holy Water to sprinkle and bless the wreath.
Loving God, Bless these candles and make them a sign of your love for us and our hope in you.
May our Advent Wreath be a source of joy in our school and in our classroom.
As light comes from these candles, may it guide us and brighten our way as we wait for your coming.
May you bring light into our schools, homes and communities as we wait and prepare this Advent season. We ask this prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen