Sunday, December 1 marks the first Sunday of Advent, the beginning of the Liturgical Year of the Catholic Church, and the first of four Sundays prior to Christmas that prepare for the Coming of the Lord. Help children understand this time through the creation of an Advent Wreath with the following instruction that teach how to make, bless and light the Advent Wreath.
Many faithful begin their Christmas decorating at the start of Advent. It helps to keep Christ in Christmas and teaches children patience as they wait for the birth of Jesus in a world that has commercialized the Coming of the Lord.
Creating an Advent Wreath and learning the Advent Prayer below helps to teach children the true meaning of Christmas.
Advent refers to the coming of Christ in three ways; the celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth, the coming of Christ in our daily lives through the Sacrament of Holy Communion and His Second Coming at the end of time.
Advent is such a special time of preparation for the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ. There is so much to accomplish, that often the meaning of Christmas gets lost behind the decorating, baking, and shopping. Advent is the perfect season to engage young children and older ones in the true meaning of gift-giving and the anticipation Christmas morning. Through Advent, we can teach our children patience as they dream about opening gifts under the tree.
Advent Wreath Prayer
(Can be said when each candle is lit)
God, You gave us Your Son, Jesus, because You love us so much. Move our hearts to reach out to people around us who are poor, sick or lonely. Prepare our hearts to welcome Jesus, Your Son. Amen.
The Advent Wreath originated in Germany with the Lutherans and is used as the centerpiece for many Catholic families. It consists of four candles (3 purple, one pink) surrounded by evergreen branches. Starting on the first Sunday, each candle is lit until all four are aflame on the last. The flames signify the light of Jesus who is born on Christmas Day. Purple reminds us that Advent is a time of reflection and penance while the pink candle is lit on the third Sunday (Gaudete Sunday).
Advent wreaths can be purchased or made with tapers and other craft items, found at Michaels or Catholic stores, by following the steps outlined here. Long Islanders living in Valley Stream may also visit Joseph T.Reilly Religious Articles on Rockaway Avenue for more Advent and Advent Wreath ideas.
The Advent Wreath is generally blessed the night before the first Sunday of Advent, or whenever possible, with Holy Water. The prayers and responses are included in the link to the left.
To light the Advent Wreath you will need three purple candles and one pink, which is lit on the third Sunday. The Advent Wreath is lit around dinnertime, or whenever the family feels appropriate, and extinguished following all of the Advent devotions.
The attached picture is a printable Advent Wreath activity for younger children to color and glue each week instead of lighting a candle.
Wishing you a peaceful, joyous and blessed Advent.
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