What is the significance of wreaths and advent candles?

By Alice Bassett

Updated December 1, 2022.

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What is Advent?

Advent, (from Latin adventus, “coming”), in the Christian church calendar and is the period of spiritual preparation for Christmas. Advent is a time to prepare for Christmas, for the coming of Jesus and a time to prepare for his second coming. Advent encompasses the four Sundays and weekdays leading up to the celebration of Christmas.

What is an Advent wreath?

An Advent wreath has no beginning or end and reminds us of the eternity of God’s love and the everlasting love found in Jesus.

What is the meaning of the Advent wreath?

The circular shape of the Advent wreath symbolises Jesus' infinite love – it is never-ending. The materials of the Advent wreath similarly, lead us to reflect on the everlasting nature of God. Traditionally, Advent wreaths have been made from evergreen leaves, such as pine or fir. These leaves maintain their green colour well beyond the time of year during which they are collected.

What are Advent candles?

The use of candles during Advent is a longstanding tradition that was initially adopted in the Middle Ages. Depending on culture – Nordic countries have a particular candle making how much to burn each day

What are the names of the Advent candles?

The 4 candles of Advent are named hope, love, joy, and peace, representing the virtues Jesus brought. Some choose to light a 5th white candle on Christmas to represent the birth of Jesus.

When does Advent begin?

Advent Week 1 takes place on 11.27.22 – Hope: Prophecy Candle (purple)

Advent Week 2 takes place on 12.04.22 – Peace: Bethlehem Candle (purple)

Advent Week 3 takes place on 12.11.22 – Joy: Shepherd’s Candle (pink)

Advent Week 1 takes place on 12.18.22 – Love: Angel’s Candle (purple)

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The Four Advent Candles.

The first Advent candle symbolises a shining light in anticipation of the coming of Jesus. It is usually a purple candle and can be called the Prophecy Candle. It represents the prophecy from Isaiah.

The second advent candle, or Bethlehem Candle, is also usually purple or violet. It reminds us of the Holy Family's experience in Bethlehem.

The third advent candle is the Shepherd's Candle, as we remember to rejoice in Jesus' birth, like the shepherds on the first Christmas Eve.

The fourth Advent candle is the Angel's Candle which is a purple candle to represent anticipation of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.

What do the colours of Advent represent?

The three Advent candle colours—purple, pink—symbolically represent the spiritual preparation that believers undergo to prepare themselves for the birth of Jesus.

Purple: Purple has traditionally been the primary colour of Advent. This hue symbolises repentance and fasting.

Pink: Pink is one of the colours of Advent used during the third Sunday of Advent. Pink represents joy or rejoicing and reveals a shift in the season of Advent away from repentance and toward celebration.

White: White is the Advent candle colour representing purity, light, regeneration, and holiness

Where to place an Advent wreath?

Place an Advent wreath in a prominent place in your homes, such as the kitchen or windowsill. Advent candles and wreaths are a way to keep Christ at the centre of Christmas celebrations. Additionally, lighting the Christmas Advent candles also offers an opportunity to teach children about Christ.

“In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:4-5)