Advent Wreath—Germany’s Candlelit Countdown

Advent countdowns come in all shapes and sizes, from paper chains and wall hangings to boxes of chocolate or 12 pairs of socks. Every year, we visit World Market to see what exciting Advent calendars they have in stock, buy far too many of them, and spend each of the 12-24 nights before Christmas eating candy, cookies, jams, and marzipan.

This year, Gordon decided to add a less delicious but much more meaningful Advent countdown to the mix. On the Fourth Day of Imported Christmas, we are celebrating with an Advent wreath.

We are giving Germany credit for this tradition because the modern version likely originated with early Lutherans. Advent wreaths have since become a central part of the Christmas season for Christians around the world. The wreath includes four candles, one for each of the Sundays leading up to Christmas. Some wreaths now include a center candle, the Christ candle, to be lit on Christmas Eve. The circular wreath represents God’s all-encompassing love and the evergreen branches symbolize the hope of eternal life.

For each of the four Sundays prior to Christmas, we light a new candle, choose a verse of scripture, and discuss the events leading up to Christ’s birth.

Week 1: The Prophecy Candle

Represents: Hope

Scripture: Isaiah 9:6—”For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

Week 2: The Bethlehem Candle

Represents: Faith

Scripture: Luke 2:3-5—”And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judæa, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.”

Week 3: The Shepherd’s Candle

Represents: Joy

Scripture: Luke 2:8-12—”And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”

Week 4: The Angel’s Candle

Represents: Peace

Scripture: Luke 2:13-14—”And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

For our Advent wreath, Gordon also used a scroll saw to create Nativity scenes for the base. The hexagonal base can be lit within by a string of LED lights. He used extra hardware to create the candle stands on top.

We have loved using the Advent wreath to keep us focused on the hope, faith, joy, and peace the gospel of Christ gives us.

Twelve Days of Imported Christmas

  1. The First Day: Sfincione—Sicily’s Christmas Pizza
  2. The Second Day: Pavuchky—Ukraine’s 8-Legged Decorators
  3. The Third Day: Chicken Bones—New Brunswick’s Crunchy Christmas Treat
  4. The Fourth Day: Advent Wreath—Germany’s Candlelit Countdown
  5. The Fifth Day: Julbord—Sweden’s Christmas Feast
  6. The Sixth Day: Mince Pies—England’s Medieval Advent Treat

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