The Advent Wreath: Four Services for Home and Family

Bring Christmas to life in your home! Bishop Peter Brignall invites us to share a simple ceremony of lighting the candles of the Advent Wreath. Download the resource for free here.

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Placing four candles on green fronds has become a symbol of Advent in many Christian homes, especially in the Germanic countries and North America.

‘The Advent wreath, with the progressive lighting of its four candles, Sunday after Sunday, until the Solemnity of Christmas, is a recollection of the various stages of salvation history prior to Christ’s coming, and a symbol of the prophetic light gradually illuminating the long night prior to the rising of the Sun of justice. (See: Malachi 3:20; Luke 1:78).’ Directory on Popular Piety & the Liturgy N.98

The wreath can be the focal point in the home during the journey of Advent, the lighting of the candles being part of the family meal. Each member of the household can have a part to read and share in these four services. This simple Advent tradition will create fond, long-lasting memories of family Christmases and help you reflect together on the true meaning of the celebration. 

The colour of the candles is secondary to their symbolism, and, of course, please put safety first and ensure that your Advent wreath is not a fire risk or danger to you or your home.

This resource is versatile, suitable not only for families but also as an educational tool for teachers or catechists looking for engaging KS2 religious studies resources or children’s liturgy resources. Perhaps the children could craft a cardboard Advent wreath in the classroom, making paper flames they symbolically ‘light’ as they count down each Sunday towards Christmas. This hands-on activity fosters creativity, immerses young minds in the tradition and allows them to understand its symbolism more deeply.  

Whether you’re interested in this ceremony as a family or an educator, you’ll find that it’s spiritually enriching and helps you reflect on the deeper meaning of Christmas.