What is Advent?
Advent is a season of the church year during which we prepare our hearts for Christ’s coming. Advent is the beginning of the liturgical year for Christians. [Liturgical -- from liturgy, which means the forms and functions of public worship.] The dates of Advent vary each year, but it always contains the four Sundays before Christmas Day.
What is an Advent wreath?
Wreaths used during the observation of Advent. Advent wreaths are of two basic types. The first is a circle, generally of evergreens, which is hung in the sanctuary of the church as part of the special decorations for the Advent season. Wreaths of evergreen and other materials are increasingly used during Advent to decorate the exterior doors of churches and people’s homes.
What do candles in the Advent wreath mean?
The Advent wreath, four candles on a wreath of evergreen, is shaped in a perfect circle to symbolize the eternity of God. In some churches, four purple candles, one for each week in Advent, are used with one larger white candle in the middle as the Christ candle. Other churches prefer three purple or blue candles with one candle being rose or pink, to represent joy.
What are Chrismons?
Ornaments made from Christian symbols (or Chrismons, a contraction for ‘Christ monograms’) were first developed by Frances Spencer and the women of the Ascension Lutheran Church in Danville, VA. Many churches display a Chrismon tree during the Advent and Christmas season decorated with handmade ornaments.
What is the “Hanging of the Greens”?
Many churches hold a service of preparation for Christ’s coming, which includes hanging greenery traditionally associated with everlasting life. Greens such as cedar for royalty, fir and pine boughs for everlasting life, holly symbolizing Jesus’ death and ivy representing the resurrection are used.
What is a Christ candle?
The large white candle used on Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day or both. The Christ candle is often the candle located in the center of an Advent wreath.
What do altar cloth colors mean?
The Christian year contains two cycles: the Christmas Cycle
(Advent-Christmas-Epiphany) and the Easter Cycle (Lent-Easter-Pentecost). Within each cycle are a preparatory season symbolized by the color purple and a festival season symbolized by the color white. After each cycle there is an ordinary time of growth symbolized the color green. Thus there is a sequence of seasons using purple, white, and green in that order twice each year.