Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Symbolism of the Advent Wreath

Much of the symbolism associated with advent is associated with the Advent Wreath. The Advent wreath is typically a circular wreath made of evergreen branches with four candles: three purple and one pink (and some also prefer a white one, in the center) are arranged on the wreath. The evergreens used on the wreath symbolize hope and renewal. Because evergreens last so long without withering, they are a symbol for eternity, representing God who is unchanging. The circular shape of the wreath is also a symbol of eternity (Emmanuel: “God with us”) Decorations such as holly and ivy are sometimes used to signify the Passion and the pomegranate is used to symbolize the Church, (because of the countless seeds) and for the hope we place in the Resurrection.

The candles together symbolize Jesus the “light of the world.” The first purple candle for week one is the prophet's candle and symbolizes hope. The second purple candle for week two is the Bethlehem candle. It represents Christ's manger and symbolizes love. The third week is represented by a pink candle which is the shepherd's candle, symbolizing joy. The last purple candle, for the fourth week is the Angel's candle symbolizing peace. The final while candle in the middle, is lit on Christmas Eve and symbolizes Christ who has come into the world to save us from our sins.

Even the specific colors of the candles have meaning. The purple (violet) color is associated with repentance, a reminder to prepare internally for the Feast of Christmas, and is a color of royalty in anticipation of the birth of the King. Pink is used during the third Sunday of Advent representing joy and reminds us to rejoice in the birth of our Salvation. White is associated with purity and represents the sinlessness of Jesus.

During this Advent season may we all come to a greater love and intimacy with Christ Our King, who came to earth as a Babe, born of Mary, to lead us all to salvation in His Name.

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