The Advent Candles.
This Sunday we will light the first candle of five on our Advent Wreath. Our children will be making a mini-version of the candle wreath to take home and light with their families. But why do we do this?
Whilst lighting candles to represent the light of God in the world is a very old Christian tradition, the idea of an Advent Candle Wreath is a relatively modern one.
In fact it only goes back to the early 1800s and – no big surprise here – comes from Germany (as indeed most of our modern Christmas traditions).
In 1839 Johann Hinrich Wichern, a pastor in Germany, built a wreath out of an old cartwheel to help the children in his mission school count the days until Christmas.
He added small candles to be lit every weekday and Saturday during Advent, and on Sundays, a large white candle was lit.
There is evidence of this practice going on much earlier in Germany – right the way back to the 16th century, but it wasn’t until the 1800s that we saw what we may recognise as the modern wreath.
In many ways this was the precursor to both the Advent Calendar (no chocolate then!) and the Advent Candle Wreath that we light each Sunday.
We light the first candle for the Prophets which represent the Hope of the world. The second candle is for Faith, the third for Joy and the fourth – Peace. The central white candle is lit at Midnight Mass on Christmas Day.
Each week I’ll explain a little more about the candles and what they represent at the start of mass as one of the children light it.
I’m looking forward to travelling with you this Advent and preparing to meet Jesus on Christmas Day.
Don’t forget to re-register for Gift Envelopes – even if you already have one. Sign up on the sheet at the back of church or contact David Couling (number on the front of the pew sheet).
Choir rehearsal today, 28th November (and last one next week) for our Advent & Christmas Carol concert (NEXT SUNDAY!)
We have an Advent craft for the children this Sunday (28th November) – we will be making mini Advent Wreaths for them to take home – they can make several for friends and family, so get your order in now.
Fr. Matthew has two days training this week in central London so there are some changes to timings – especially on Wednesday and Thursday so please do check carefully.