Advent begins the fourth Sunday before Christmas and continues every Sunday until Christmas day. Since Christmas falls on a Sunday this year - it will actually seem like there are 5 Advent Sundays.
The Advent wreath is simply a Christmas wreath with 4 candles (sometimes 5 candles). On the first of Advent - 1 candle is lit; on the second of Advent - 2 candles are lit..... and so on. Until Christmas day when the optional fifth candle would be lit (The fifth candle is a larger candle and is in the middle of the wreath). As you can see by the picture above, my wreath only has 4 candles.
When I was a child my parents would always set aside family worship time during the Advent season. Every Advent Sunday evening we would light our advent wreath, sing Christmas carols and read about Jesus' birth from scripture. These are some of my most precious and warm childhood memories and I truly believe that this family worship time helped shape my Christian walk. I would encourage every parent to have this wonderful family worship time - especially during the Advent season.
The First of Advent: JosephThe Second of Advent - Mary
The Third of Advent - Baby Jesus