The parish church of central Finchley
26 Hendon Lane, Finchley, London N3 1TR

Join us in church on Sundays at 8am & 10am, or online at 7pm

Posted December 1st, 2023

First Sunday in Advent


This weekend marks the first Sunday in Advent when we welcome the Advent Wreath on the altar and the church is filled with meaningful greenery instead of flowers.

As with many of our customs, we inherit this tradition from Germany when the first wreath appeared in 1839.

It was created from the wheel of a cart by a Lutheran minister working at a mission for children. He  placed twenty small red candles and four large white candles inside the ring. The red candles were lit on weekdays, and the four white the candles were lit on Sundays.

Our ring will be decorated with fresh and meaningful greenery, including rosemary for remembrance, dark green laurel for glory, dainty ivy leaves for friendship and holly – once called holm – which was given all kinds of Christian associations.

One tells the tale of the holly tree standing bare, stripped of all its berries which the birds had eaten, outside the stable where Christ was born. But in honour of Christ’s birth, the tree was filled with buds, flowers and berries.

There is one special day in the Advent season when flowers are permitted in church – Gaudete Sunday also known as Rose Sunday or Refreshment Sunday (date ? ).  Rose-coloured vestments can be worn so it is appropriate to feature simple vases of pink roses or pink carnations on the altar.

“In this Advent of expectation
draw us together in unity,
that our praise and worship
might echo in these walls
and also through our lives. “


Author: Lynn Radnedge