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Advent – A Time of Joyful Traditions
Advent is a joyful time to contemplate and get set for the birth of the Holy Babe that we celebrate on Christmas Day.
Creating an advent wreath is a visual way to look forward to the Holy Babe's birth through the symbolism of lighted candles. I find it meditative to light the candles in the evening as soon as dusk falls which here in The Netherlands is by 4pm.
Prayer for meditation: "May the candle light remind me of spiritual light in the world, our pathway to wisdom."
The act of lighting the candles reminds me that the Light of the world to so many never fades and as the weeks pass in expectation of December 24th and 25th more and more light is produced by more candles being lit.
The first Sunday just one candle is lit and each successive Sunday one more is added till all are lit by the 4th Sunday.
As there are four Sundays in Advent you will need 4 candles, one for each of the Sundays, and a 5th candle for Christmas Day.
Another preparation I make this time of year is the holly wreath for the front door. You can intertwine holly and ivy and pine sprigs on a wreath form or make you own by bending a wire clothes hanger into a round shape and tying on the sprigs securely. Then adding decorations such as small balls or tiny pine combs, or shiny red ribbons.
The culmination for me in my preparations is arranging the manger scene in my front window, as seen in the photo. This holy act really is a special time for me to reflect on the eternal message of Christmas.
Christmas Eve Prayer
Christmas Prayer for Children
New Year's Prayer and Meditation
Article and photo credit by Susan Helene Kramer
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