On the church calendar, the fourth Sunday before Christmas marks the first day of Advent; this year the date is November 29th. Advent is observed for four consecutive Sundays prior to Christmas.
Whether you’re familiar with this tradition of an Advent wreath or this is the first year you’ll be celebrating, this handy reference will help. I made a FREE DOWNLOAD of the Scripture readings and liturgy for each Sunday of Advent.
An Advent wreath isn’t a “wreath” in the regular sense of the word, but a round tabletop candleholder, usually surrounded by greenery of some kind. I’ve listed the candle colors, Advent watchwords–Wait/Hope, Prepare, Rejoice/Joy and Love–and Scripture readings for each Sunday. The last reading in this tradition is on Christmas Eve or Christmas, when the Christ candle is lit.
Some church traditions use three purple candles (purple is the liturgical color for Advent signifying royalty) and one pink (week 3 the ‘Mary’ candle for Joy). The Christ candle in the middle is usually white or gold (I used what I had this year–you can, too!) and is it on Christmas Eve or Christmas day.
The point is to pause and remember. You can relight the candle each morning during the week, repeating the words that Jesus Christ is the light of the world.
For more simple inspiration and doable ways to slow down Christmas from Advent all the way through Epiphany on January 6th, you might like my book “Living the Season Well-Reclaiming Christmas.”