Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Advent Wreath

Of all our Advent traditions, this one is my absolute favorite. It was the first "Catholic" tradition I picked up and though I tweak it every year, it is a favorite, especially with the kids (the thrill of fire).

I have gone through different wreaths, ideas, where to place it, what to pray, etc. trying to find what works for us. Our best way to display and use the wreath is right on our dining table. This year I found a brass "4-ring" candle holder that is perfect for tapers. (I had debated using tapers or pillars but when I saw this at the thrift store, I knew I would give tapers one more try.) For a wreath base, last year I cut greenery and holly from my in-laws while visiting at Thanksgiving, and I plan to do this again. I will also pick some additional greenery to freeze to use on Christmas Eve when the greenery is replaced with fresh. If, for some reason, I cannot make Thanksgiving, I will just have to make do with store-bought greenery mixed with a little of my sparse lawn greenery. I just love the fresh greens versus an artificial wreath and it is a lot of fun to cut greenery with the kids. I typically cut enough for a front door wreath but I will keep it simple this year and just use artificial.

Last year's wreath with handmade rolled beeswax candles.

Last year the kids rolled their own Advent candles using this kit, but they burned way too fast and so this year I found tapers at a local grocery store (they are very hard to find!). Each night during Advent the boys can light the appropriate number of candles and we will say a simple prayer before the dinner blessing. After dinner, the candles are blown out. On Christmas Eve, the Advent candles will be lit along with a white pillar candle - that the kids will decorate prior - for the Christ candle, and fresh greenery will replace the old.

My thrift store find - a little dusty and needs a polish, but I think it will turn out nice with new greenery and candles, don't you?

Our prayers are simple. There are very elaborate ones out there, as well as cute, simple ones for young children.

If I have it ready on Saturday, we can bless it that night. Most likely it will be done Sunday evening at dinner before the other prayers.

Blessing of the Advent Wreath

We gather around our wreath to begin the celebration of Advent. Let us ask our Father in heaven to fill our hearts with grace. (Silent pause for prayer.) Heavenly Father, we look forward to the celebration of Christmas and to the coming of the Lord in glory. Bless this Advent wreath and all of us. As we pray daily around it, fill us with your life and strengthen us for our daily tasks. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen. (Follow with Week 1 Advent Wreath Prayer.)

Week 1 Advent Wreath Prayer: Hope

Heavenly Father, as we begin this Advent, give light to our eyes and peace to our hearts. May the Lord find us watching and waiting in joy when He comes. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

Week 2 Advent Wreath Prayer: Peace

Father in heaven, set our hearts ablaze to follow in the steps of John the Baptist. May we bring light and love to all we meet, that the darkness of sin and fear may be overcome. In Christ's name we ask this. Amen.

Week 3 Advent Wreath Prayer: Joy

As we draw near to you, Lord God, keep us aware of your presence in all we do. Come with power to enlighten us by your grace, that we may live in praise and peace all our days. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Week 4 Advent Wreath Prayer: Love

Let us pray. Stir up Thy might, we pray Thee, O Lord and come; rescue us through Thy great strength so that salvation, which has been hindered by our sins, may be hastened by the grace of Thy gentle mercy. Who livest and reignest for ever and ever. Amen.

Christmas Eve Advent Wreath Prayer

Let us pray. Lord Jesus, we approach that holy moment when Your coming as man is renewed in our hearts. Give us peace and allow us to celebrate Your presence with joy, that we may some day share Your glory. We ask this of You, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, as One God, now and forever. Amen.

Advent Wreath Prayer for Christmas Day through Epiphany

Begin with a Prayer to the Infant Jesus

Dear little Infant Jesus, I thank You for leaving heaven to become a child like me. I want to be like You - kind and pure and good. Always be my friend and keep my soul from sin. Bless my mother and father, my brothers and sisters, too. Bless all who are good to me, and all who are in need. Jesus, Infant Savior, give peace to the world!

Followed by:

Father in Heaven, You so loved us that You sent Your Son among us as Savior and Lord. Fill us with Your blessing, that we may grow in love and continue to live our Christian faith. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Something new this year...

I saw this over on Gardenia's Little Flower blog and loved it. I too felt it a perfect ending to all the Advent wreath prayers, and will tack it on to end every night's prayer. She has some other things she does for Advent and is worth checking out. Thank you for sharing what you do, Gardenia!

I am the Light of the World. He who follows me shall not live in darkness but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12) 


  1. well, thanks for mentioning me! i love your Advent wreath! thanks for these weekly prayers. i always run around last minute looking for the weekly prayers. i will just print these off and copy from you!!

  2. You're welcome! I have lengthier prayers as well but short and simple is good for this year (and with young kids!). There are so many prayers out there.


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