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How to Pray Over Your Advent Wreath

As you light a new candle every Sunday until Christmas, pray with hope and the certainty that Jesus is here to change our lives.
Advent wreath
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
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The root of the word “Advent” is “to come,” and this whole season is about not just the coming of Christmas but the coming of our Savior. Often, we find ourselves earnestly waiting for something. But in this instance, we’re waiting for something that has come and will continue to enrich our lives. Let’s turn to the Advent wreath.

As you light your Advent wreath, lighting a new candle every Sunday until you light that last candle in the middle, the Christmas candle, use it as a time to pray. Not just with hope but with certainty. The Good News has come. Jesus is here to change our lives.

The First Candle

Look back at the year. What can you give thanks for? Or what prayers are you still waiting to be answered? Bring them before the Lord. God wants to hear them. And in saying them, we become aware of how God is moving in our lives. You might even want to sing a carol as you gaze at your Advent wreath. “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” perhaps. That word Emmanuel means “God with us.”

The Second Candle

Use this as a moment to look forward. What do you anticipate in the New Year? What exciting things are happening in your life? Or what milestones might be laid? A significant birthday perhaps, or the upcoming birth of a new baby. Whether you have a loved one who is pregnant or not, we can all pray for new birth. Peace in the world. A new job, a new purpose. Hopes and goals that we share with the Lord.

The Third Candle

Consider those who have gone before us, who paved the way and continue even from heavenly realms to pave the way. I recall something C.S. Lewis once said, that as you get older it becomes impossible not to pray just for the living but also the dead. I grieve the loss of my dear parents. Yet I don’t doubt they are still here. I can still feel their love. Like God’s love.

The Fourth Candle

Think about now. Think about how God is right here with us. Honor the divine that’s present. Look at that wreath. Those candles. The wax that has dripped down. The illuminating light that comes from all four candles lit at once. You might even sing “Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly.” The halls are decorated, and the tree is probably up by now. Soon the stockings will be hung from the chimney with care. See it with eyes of delight. Forget, for a moment, how many shopping days are left till Christmas. God is right here. In the now.

The Christmas Candle

If the other four candles are white, this is often pink or red. You’ve been waiting to put that Babe in a manger. Now you can as you light this candle at the center of the Advent wreath, the nexus for all we are. Feel free to ring forth with carols. “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” “The First Noel,” “Silent Night.” The wreath might age and decay, the leaves turning brown. But as Jesus reminded us, we are the light of the world. In faith we can let our candles burn. “Joy to the World” has come.

Read More: Our Picks for the Best Advent Candles and Holders

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