THE ADVENT WREATH
The Advent season is a time of preparation for our hearts and minds for the anniversary of the Lord’s birth on Christmas. The use of the wreath and candles are a longstanding Catholic tradition that was originally adopted by Christians in the Middle Ages as part of their spiritual preparation for the Feast. The wreath and candles are full of symbolism tied to the Christmas season.
The wreath itself, which is made of various evergreens, signifies continuous life. The circle of the wreath, which has no beginning or end, symbolizes the eternity of God, the immortality of the soul, and the everlasting life we find in Christ.
The four candles represent the four weeks of Advent, and one candle is lit each Sunday.
The first purple candle, symbolizes hope. It is sometimes called the “Prophecy Candle” in remembrance of the prophets, especially Isaiah, who foretold the birth of Christ. It represents the expectation felt in anticipation of the coming Messiah.
The second candle, also purple, represents faith. It is called the “Bethlehem Candle” as a reminder of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem.
The third candle is pink and symbolizes joy. It is called the “Shepard’s Candle,” and is pink because rose is a liturgical color for joy. The third Sunday of Advent is Gaudete (Rejoicing) Sunday and reminds us of the joy that the world experienced at the birth of Jesus, as well as the joy that the faithful have reached the midpoint of Advent.
The candle for the fourth week of Advent, symbolizes peace reminding us that we await the Prince of Peace. This final candle, the “Angels’ Candle,” reminds us of the message of the angels: “Peace on Earth, Good Will toward all.”
The white candle representing the purity of Christ, is placed in the middle of the wreath and lit on Christmas Eve. This candle is called the “Christ Candle” and represents the sinless life of Christ.
May God bless you, your families, and the week ahead,
Fr Aidan Peter