When I was growing up, we didn’t have an Advent wreath, but our family has been keeping one since our girls were very small. I started with a traditional set of tapers and a wreath, but have changed the way I do the wreath in more recent years.
One year, I was visiting a friend’s home and noticed that she had four large glass-jar candles around her wreath. I joked that she had the biggest candles I’d ever seen for Advent, and she said she loved having them lit for long periods during the day. That made sense to me, so I started doing the same thing. Every October, I pick up four candles from WalMart (only $5 each!), and I set them around my little wreath. I frequently light them at Lauds and leave them lit until breakfast is over, or even longer. They’re in glass jars, so there’s no fire danger, either. And I no longer drip wax into my wreath, either.
I have my wreath set up on my prayer altar, where I focus my attention during Lauds and Vespers, and it’s wonderful to gradually add light to my altar as we approach Christmas. It reminds me that Christ lights the world — but gradually, through each of us. We bring the light of Christ to a world that sits in darkness, looking for a Savior and, more often than not, having no idea where to find Him.