Advent Begins!

Celebrate Advent at Home!

I Will Light Candles This Christmas

By Howard Thurman

 

I will light candles this Christmas,

Candles of joy despite all the sadness,

Candles of hope where despair keeps watch,

Candles of courage for fears ever present,

Candles of peace for tempest-tossed days,

Candles of grace to ease heavy burdens,

Candles of love to inspire all my living,

Candles that will burn all year long.


Free Online Link to Daily Devotional for Advent



As we celebrate Advent in our own homes this year, the worship committee encourages each household to create, display and light your own Advent wreathRead below to learn more about advent wreaths and how to make your own.

Lights in the Darkness:

lighting our Advent Candles at home

--Kathryn Reiss

 

As we move toward the season of Advent, our hearts are filled with expectation.  Our CPC family looks for ways to mark this time leading up to Christmas.  One way is to join the online Advent study offered by CPC, beginning Dec. 1st, and led by Laura Levin and John Collister.  Another is to make an Advent wreath to be used at home, lighting candles to count off the passage of the four weeks of Advent.  In our Christian tradition there are four candles, one for each week in the waiting period before Christ’s birth, and often a fifth candle called the Christ Candle to be lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

  • History of the Advent Wreath

    We can trace the origins of the Advent wreath back to pagan times when pre-Christian Germanic people lit candles and placed them in wreaths during the darkest days of winter as a sign of hope for the light that would come with spring. Then Christians adapted this during the Middle Ages to prepare for the light of Christ coming into the world at Christmas.


    However, it was not until 1839 that a Protestant Pastor in Hamburg,Germany, Johann Hinrich Wichern (1808–1881), created an Advent wreath from an old cart wheel to help children count down the days until Christmas by lighting 20 small red candles, one for each week day, and 4 large white candles for each Sunday during Advent. The tradition of the Advent wreath and Advent calendars reached America via several waves of German immigrants, and by the 1930s both Protestant and Catholic churches in America used evergreen wreaths with five candles to count the weeks until Christmas.  (The original cart wheel calendar is likely the inspiration for today’s Advent Calendars.  Children enjoy counting down the days to Christmas by opening little doors each day—revealing a sweet treat to make the long wait more bearable!)

  • Symbolism of the Advent Wreath

    The circle of the wreath symbolizes God’s unending love for us—a love that never ends.  The candles are often surrounded by evergreens to symbolize that God’s love for us never withers or fades.  As we wait for Christ’s coming into the darkness of our world, we light the four candles of hope, love, joy, and peace—candles rich with symbolism.  Each helps us to remember the promises of God.  At Christmas we light the Christ Candle—to symbolize that the light of Jesus Christ has come into the world.


    Usually we mark this sacred time before Christ’s birth by lighting the Advent candles in our Sanctuary at CPC.  The lighting of each candle is accompanied by a reading from the Bible, and with prayers and song.  But in this time of worldwide pandemic, we must adapt tradition to our current reality.  We will still mark the weeks to the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ--in that regard nothing has changed nor ever will change!  But now we are worshipping at home.  Many of us have lit Advent candles at home even before the pandemic, but this year, we invite all of you to make your own Advent wreaths and light the candles in your own homes.

  • Make your own Advent Wreath at Home!

    While the Advent Wreath in our Sanctuary is a beautiful, large one on a stand holding the five tall candles, our homemade wreaths can be much simpler.  You can easily make one yourself!  It’s a fun craft to do alone or with your kids and grand kids (if you’re lucky enough to have them in your bubble). 

     

    Here’s what you will need:

    • Four or five candles!  They can be any color you want, and in any shapes you want (angels? shepherds?), collected from drawers and cupboards around your house.  They don’t need to match, and there’s no need to order anything special.  (There are Advent candles available online, however.)   In our Presbyterian tradition, the three candles representing HOPE, LOVE, and PEACE are purple.  The candle representing JOY is pink.  The Christ candle is white—but these are merely traditions, not rules.
    • Decorations!  You can go out into your garden to gather some evergreens to surround your candles--or be creative and substitute something else!  (Our family uses shiny beads and ornaments…) 
    • Don’t forget matches! 

    Gather these things together.  You might like to arrange your candles on a tray or platter.  Get inventive or be traditional.  Have fun with your Advent Wreaths--and please take pictures and send them to Melissa, our new Administrative Assistant, so we can share them with our congregation during this sacred season. Melissa's email is available on our member only page.

Wreaths for inspiration!

Help inspire others by sending your wreath to Melissa to be posted here!

  • Changus Family Wreath

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  • Pasholk

    family wreath

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  • Komori Stager family wreath

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  • Reiss-Strychacz family wreath

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