The first Sunday of Advent was on 1 December. Paonia community members came together to build an Advent Spiral for the children to experience their own journey through this darkest time of the year, protected and guided by an angelic being. After a quiet story, the children followed the soothing harmonies of a Celtic harp as they walked the spiral, one by one, with their own candle held in a red apple. In the center they lit their candle from the central pillar and then placed it in the garden, which soon was aglow with candlelight. The mineral kingdom was represented by crystals amidst the seasonal greenery.
Traditionally, the advent experience unfolds as each Sunday another kingdom of nature is represented – plant, animal and finally the human being. At home, a special wreath holding four candles can represent this cycle through the rhythm of nature, so that each Sunday an additional candle is lit. In this way a child’s anticipation toward Christmas is supported with reverence and calm.
Select an image to experience a slideshow. Photos courtesy of Brian Werner.
History of the Advent Wreath
Over 150 years ago a minister, Johann Wichern, in Hamburg, Germany was moved in his heart to help the homeless children living on the streets of his town. He founded what he named Rough House – a home for the poor children who suffered from poverty, especially in the cold winter nights. Mr. Wichern took a large wooden hoop and secured 24 candles on it, then hung it from the ceiling of the central room at Rough House. Every evening, all the poor children would gather round the wreath and sing carols together, lighting one candle each day from December 1 until Christmas Eve. When finally all the candles were lit, light and warmth spread throughout the house on this darkest night of the year. The children, in gratitude for their new home and the warmth of their newly formed family, decorated the hoop with fir boughs as a sign of new hope. The tradition has now spread throughout the world.