Lighting the Advent Wreath—First Sunday of Advent

A purple taper candle, lit, with other taper candles blurred in the background.

Week 1: Hope
Many years ago, thousands of years ago, people in the northern hemisphere were thought to have gathered wreaths of evergreen and lit fires as signs of hope in the coming spring and renewed light. The custom was kept alive by Christians, and by the 16th century the Advent wreath had gradually spread across many parts of the world.

Today, Advent is the period of four Sundays leading up to Christmas. It’s also the time (in the Northern hemisphere) when days are shortest, when cold settles in, and when people need the cheer brought by the promise of light and warmth.

As we light one more candle each Sunday, this Advent wreath symbolizes our waiting experience. Week by week, the candles remind us that fear and hopelessness recede as more warmth enters the world. The flame of each new candle reminds us that more is yet to come.

On this first Sunday in Advent, we light this candle of hope with the words of Macrina Wiederkehr, a Benedictine monastic:

I was just thinking
One morning
During prayer
How much alike
And baking powder are:
Getting what is
Best in me
To rise,
The hint of eternity

May this candle awaken the best in us, connect us to the Eternal, and give life to our hope.

You're invited to use this in conjunction with words for candle lighting on:

About the Author

Erika Hewitt

Erika Hewitt divides her ministry between serving the Midcoast UU Fellowship in Damariscotta, Maine, and traveling as a guest preacher, worship consultant, and coach for UU congregations. She is the author of Story, Song and Spirit as well as The Shared Pulpit.

For more information contact .