Wreaths with three candles?

"Advent, Advent, a little light burns. First one, then two, then three…" – Yes, and then? What actually happens to the fourth candle this year?? Paradoxical as this question may seem, it is justified in 2006. Because this time the preparation time for Christmas actually lasts only three weeks. – More about the Advent season, the this site special program and the raffle of DAB radios on our special page.

27 at the earliest. November, at the latest on 3. Decemb Advent begins at the earliest on 27. November and at the latest on 3. December: The starting signal for the pre-Christmas period cannot be later than this year, if only in terms of calculations. For otherwise the pre-Christmas penitential season – unlike that established by Pope Gregory the Great in the sixth century – would no longer consist of four Sundays. It took centuries for this tradition to become established: different dioceses celebrated an Advent of up to six weeks for a long time. But since 11. In the twentieth century, at least in Western Europe, there is a fixed liturgical framework for four Sundays of Advent.So this time the calendar ensures that Christmas Eve coincides with the fourth Sunday of Advent. "Contrary to what many people think, Christmas Eve is not yet part of the Christmas celebration. The 24. December is merely the eve of Christmas, it marks the end of the pre-Christmas season," explains Bonn theology professor Albert Gerhards. "In this respect, it is quite possible that Christmas Eve and the Fourth of Advent fall on the same day." About every six to seven years, Gerhards continues, the calendar holds this constellation ready.Nevertheless, many people continue to react with surprise to the shrunken Advent season. And not only that: the already often stressful run-up to Christmas – this year it could become even more hectic. Finally, there is even less time than usual for looking for presents and other pre-Christmas activities.

The short advent also has consequences for the economy To ensure that enough mulled wine and potato pancakes can be sold this year, many Christmas markets in Germany have already been open since Totensonntag (Dead Sunday). Despite vehement protests from the two Christian churches, the wishes of the showmen and market operators were granted in many places. In addition, for the first time, liberalized store hours in many German states: some of them have also opened Advent Sundays for sales.Another consequence of the calendar: things are also more stressful in the church this time than in other years – for pastors and even more so for their employees. "When Christmas Eve falls on the fourth Sunday of Advent, for me that means rotating until well after midnight," says Reinhard Schmehl, sexton of the Catholic St. Barbara parish in Bonn.In order to manage the balancing act between Advent and Christmas, the preparations for Christmas have to start much earlier this time than usual. "The nativity scene and the fir trees will already be set out this year on 16. December set up. There's no other way to do it," emphasizes Schmehl, referring to the "big fight" on Christmas Eve. "Then in the morning we still celebrate the Fourth of Advent, but as soon as the service is over, the wreath flies out, and the church is decorated for Christmas."The sexton does not want to let the anticipation of the celebration take away from him despite all the hectic: "If one divides the work correctly, there is still enough time between the nativity play and Christmas mass for giving presents and contemplation."

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