You will need a Bible and four candles to celebrate this blessing.
Before your family has gathered for the blessing, select one of the following Scripture passages to be read during the blessing: Isaiah 11:1-4, 61:1-2; Mark 1:1-8; James 5:7-10; or Philippians 4:4-7. Have someone volunteer to read the passage.
Place the Advent wreath on a table and have your family gather around it. Lower the light level in the room to create an appropriate atmosphere for the blessing. Place the four candles (symbolizing the four weeks of Advent) on the table and light a single candle for the first week of Advent. Have someone lead your family in the following prayer.
Leader: This week we begin the season of Advent, when the days grow short and darkness closes in. We are preparing to celebrate at Christmas the birth of Jesus, who is the light of the world. Let's spend some quiet time being aware of the darkness and longing for the light.
(Pause a few moments and then pray the Sign of the Cross.)
Leader: Lord God, bless this wreath and bless us as well. May this wreath remind us of the hope and joy that Jesus brings into the world. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Leader: Advent means “arrival.” In the season of Advent, the church prepares to celebrate the coming of Jesus. We recall the past, celebrate the present, and look to the future with hope. We prepare to celebrate not only the birth of Jesus but also his presence in our family. We wait for the return of the Lord at the end of time when all hopes will be fulfilled. We await the coming of the light that will shine in the darkness, shining light on our path to peace.
Reader: A reading from [name of book in Bible].
(Reader reads selected passage.)
Leader: The Word of the Lord.
All: Thanks be to God.
(Pray the Lord's Prayer.)
Advent Wreath History
The Advent wreath probably has its origins in the customs of pre-Christian Germanic people, who used wreaths with lit candles during December in anticipation of the light of the coming spring. Eastern European Christians kept the tradition alive, and, by the 16th century, Advent wreaths were used to prepare for the coming of Jesus, the light of the world.