ADVENT WREATH - DARKNESS AND LIGHT*
Advent candles readily demonstrate the strong contrast between darkness
and light. In the Bible, Christ is referred to as the “Light of
the World” contrasted with the darkness of sin.
Human history spanned long ages before our prophesied Saviour would
finally make his appearance, and God’s promise to make all things
new through him.
As his Advent, or “coming,” draws nearer another candle
is lit, with each candle dispelling the darkness a little more. Thus,
the Advent wreath helps us to spiritually contemplate the great drama
of salvation history that surrounds the birth of God Incarnate who comes
to redeem the human race.
SHAPE, NUMBER, AND COLOUR
SHAPE: The circular shape of the wreath, without beginning
or end, symbolizes God’s complete and unending love for us—a
love that sent his Son into the world to redeem us from the curse of
It also represents eternal life which becomes ours through faith in
NUMBER: The Advent Wreath traditionally holds four
candles which are lit, one at a time, on each of the four Sundays of
the Advent season. Each candle represents 1,000 years. Added together,
the four candles symbolize the 4,000 years that humanity waited for
the world’s Saviour— from Adam and Eve to Jesus, whose birth
was foretold in the Old Testament.
Some Advent wreath traditions also include a fifth white “Christ”
candle, symbolizing purity, that is lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas
day. Many circular wreaths can incorporate a white candle by adding
a pillar candle to the wreath centre.
COLOUR: Violet is a liturgical colour that is used
to signify a time of prayer, penance, and sacrifice and is used during
Advent and Lent. Advent, also called “little Lent,” is the
season where we spiritually wait in our “darkness” with
hopeful expectation for our promised redemption, just as the whole world
did before Christ’s birth, and just as the whole world does now
as we eagerly await his promised return.
FOUR WEEKS OF ADVENT
During the first two weeks of Advent we light the first two purple candles.
The Third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday. On this
day we celebrate that our waiting for the birth of Jesus on Christmas
day is almost over. Rose is a liturgical colour that is used to signify
joy, so we light the single pink candle on the third Sunday of Advent.
Then on the fourth Sunday of Advent, the final purple candle is lit
to mark the final week of prayer and penance as we wait expectantly
for the soon-coming birth of the King of Kings.
Traditionally, each of the four Advent candles have a deeper meaning:
The 1st Sunday of Advent symbolizes Hope with the “Prophet’s
Candle” reminding us that Jesus is coming.
The 2nd Sunday of Advent symbolizes Faith with the “Bethlehem
Candle” reminding us of Mary and Joseph’s journey to
The 3rd Sunday of Advent symbolizes Joy with the “Shepherd’s
Candle” reminding us of the Joy the world experienced at
the coming birth of Jesus.
The 4th Sunday of Advent symbolizes Peace with the “Angel’s
Candle” reminding us of the message of the angels: "Peace
on earth, goodwill to men!"
text is from https://www.catholiccompany.com/getfed/the-advent-wreath-tradition-meaning/