Fourth Sunday of Advent

Fourth Sunday of Advent Quick Facts - DE

AKA Namevierter Adventssonntag
HashtagsCompiled on#Advent
Related Hashtags#Christmas, #Xmas, #Weihnachten
2023 Date24 December 2023
2024 Date22 December 2024

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Fourth Sunday of Advent in
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The Fourth Sunday of Advent, or Vierte Adventssonntag in German, is an important part of the Christian liturgical calendar, marking the time of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, notably celebrated on Christmas Day. It serves as the final countdown to Christmas, amplifying anticipation and spiritual reflection. A unique aspect of this day includes the lighting of the fourth candle on the Advent wreath, symbolizing love and often called the 'Angel’s candle', marking the angels' announcement of Christ's arrival.

The observance of Advent, of which the Fourth Sunday forms a part, can be traced back to 567 AD in the monasteries of Gaul, where monks were ordered to fast during this period. However, the tradition of the Advent wreath originated in Germany in the 16th century among Lutherans. In terms of the Fourth Sunday of Advent, its emphasis for German Christians tends to be on the heavenly messengers who brought news of Jesus’s coming, therefore it is a day especially dedicated to angelic heralding.

On the Fourth Sunday, many German families gather around the Advent wreath, nestled with four candles, and light the final candle. It is custom to read scriptures and sing hymns, focusing on the love God showed through the gift of Jesus. Special church services enrich the prayerful character of the day. This Sunday, held just before Christmas, can differ each year, but always falls between December 18th and 24th. Moreover, if Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday, then it replaces the Fourth Sunday of Advent, as it is seen as more significant liturgically to German Christians.

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Fourth Sunday of Advent facts

  • The Fourth Sunday of Advent relates to the birth of Christ. As such, the candle for the Fourth Sunday is known as the Angel's candle.
  • The theme for the Fourth Sunday of Advent is peace. In an account by Evangelist Luke, upon the announcement of the birth of Christ, an angel said Peace on Earth, Good will toward men.
  • The Advent wreath is believed to have been used as early as the 16th century. German theologian and pastor Johann Hinrich Wichern is credited with the modern practice of lighting candles as part of the wreath.
  • Germany's oldest Christmas market – the Striezelmarkt in Dresden – has been held since 1434 and is busiest during the Advent season, particularly on the Fourth Sunday of Advent.
  • Foods traditionally enjoyed during Advent in Germany include Stollen (a fruit and nut loaf), gingerbread cookies (Lebkuchen), mulled wine (Glühwein), and Christstollen, a bread-like cake with fruits, nuts, and spices.

Top things to do in Germany for Fourth Sunday of Advent

  • Pray and rejoice in peace. The Fourth Sunday represents peace. Peace can be reached despite trouble or conflict through God's love.
  • Attend an event or Mass in celebration of Advent. Be sure to abide by CDC guidelines and social distance.
  • Many towns and cities have Christmas markets, where people can shop for decorations, gifts, and festive food.
  • Many German towns go all out with their holiday decorations, making it fun to simply take a stroll through the streets and enjoy the festive atmosphere.

References and related sites Purpose of Advent Wreath and Candles
Fourth Sunday of Advent Facts

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