The Chrismons… The Advent Wreath

11 A shoot will grow up from the stump of Jesse; a branch will sprout from his roots.
The Lord’s spirit will rest upon him, a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of planning and strength, a spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord.
He will delight in fearing the LordHe won’t judge by appearances, nor decide by hearsay.
He will judge the needy with righteousness, and decide with equity for those who suffer in the land. He will strike the violent with the rod of his mouth; by the breath of his lips he will kill the wicked.
Righteousness will be the belt around his hips, and faithfulness the belt around his waist.
The wolf will live with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat;
    the calf and the young lion will feed together, and a little child will lead them.
The cow and the bear will graze. Their young will lie down together, and a lion will eat straw like an ox.
A nursing child will play over the snake’s hole; toddlers will reach right over the serpent’s den.
They won’t harm or destroy anywhere on my holy mountain. The earth will surely be filled with the knowledge of the Lord,  just as the water covers the sea.

10 On that day, the root of Jesse will stand as a signal to the peoples. The nations will seek him out, and his dwelling will be glorious (Isaiah 11:1-10, Common English Bible).

While not a Chrismon per se, the Advent wreath or sometimes known as the Advent Crown is a Christian tradition that marking and symbolizing the four weeks leading up to Christmas. The wreath is usually a ring of evergreen laying flat. The ring symbolizes God’s infinite love. The evergreen represents the hope of eternal life.

There are usually four candles around the outside of the ring or wreath. These mark each week of the season of Advent. One candle is lit each Sunday leading up to Christmas. Three candles are traditionally purple and one is pink. On the first and second weeks of Advent marks the lighting of a purple candle. The third Sunday is the pink candle and a purple candle is used again on fourth Sunday. In more recent times blue candles are used in place of purple candles. It has become common for all candles to be purple or blue. It is also possible, but far less common for the candles to be gold or even red.

Various meanings are given to the four candles. The most common and most traditional are hope, peace, joy, and love.

A white candle usually occupies the center of the wreath. It is lit during Christmas Eve or Christmas Day services. It is the Christ candle.

Candles, once lit, remain lit during worship through Epiphany Day, January 6th.

The concept of the Advent wreath began in the 16th century among German Lutherans. It took about another 300 years for the current Advent wreath to take the shape it has today. During medieval times, Advent was a period of fasting. The pink candle, the candle of joy or happiness was lit on the third Sunday. It represented a break in the fast and was a time of celebration.

Advent is an important time of preparation. The Advent Wreath not only marks the time of Sundays of Advent, it adds beauty and additional meaning to the season.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

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