|Advent Wreath...today is candle #1|
Growing up Lutheran in a somewhat non-religious household (even spiritual was a stretch for my parents) but hanging out with two PKs (preacher's kids) most of my high school life plus a no holds barred group of Episcopalians, Jews, and Catholics, religion was often discussed but in a friendly way and we all went to each other's churches and synagogues as guests here and there. Some of the Lutherans who I hung out with had these wreaths on the dining room table and they intrigued me.
The four candles were lit on each of the four Sundays in Advent and some of the more elaborate ones had 6 smaller candles in between so each day was marked. Ron's home (one of the PKs) also had a 7 candle arrangement for the first week - the kick off week for the new church year and it looked very much like a Menorah - actually exactly like one - just less candles...although I've seen menorahs with 7 as well as 9 so my confusion is justified.
It is pretty easy to figure that the Christmas wreath we put on our front doors is just this centerpiece hung upright and that thought crossed my mind this morning for some reason..as I remember Ron's mother taking it off the table and moving it to their front door when I dropped by their present. It meant to them, clearly, that the anticipation was over with and Christmas had arrived. Advent was Advent. Christmas was Christmas.
Advent means, by the way, something like "the arrival" or "approaching a certain event etc." as in the advent of the holiday season - that time leading up to it. I think now that it was a very nice tradition, this Advent Wreath...4 candles in anticipation - not counting down 4,3,2,1 but 1,2,3,4 bingo...and to the door....a sign of belief or welcome; however you put it or feel it.