The Advent Wreath and Candles
- The evergreen circle is a symbol of eternal life. Green from the evergreen is considered a symbol of hope. Started as a domestic tradition that entered into churches in the twentieth century.
- As a Christian tradition, the wreath holds the four Advent candles. The candles represent Jesus coming as the light in darkness. One candle is lit each Sunday until all four candles are lit, and sometimes a fifth candle is lit on Christmas. As Christmas draws nearer, each candle brings a little more light into the darkness.
- Each of the candles represents an aspect of preparation during the season of Advent:
- The Candle of Hope
Purple is the primary color associated with Advent. Within the Catholic Church it symbolizes penance, preparation, and sacrifice.
During the first week of Advent, we look forward to Jesus’ coming with hope.
- The Candle of Peace
During this second week of Advent, we reflect on our lives and work on becoming better-versions-of-ourselves in preparation for Jesus’ coming.
- The Candle of Joy
This third candle is pink, symbolizing anticipation and rejoicing. During the third week of Advent, we are filled with joy for the near arrival of Jesus on Christmas day.
- The Candle of Love
During this final week of Advent we rejoice in the endless love that God has for us, which is made apparent in the birth of his Son.
- The Candle of Hope
Nativity Scene or Creche
- Nativity scene or Creche is used to commemorate the humble birth of Christ.
- Created by St. Francis of Assisi in the 13th Century to emphasize the humility of the Savior of the World coming as a poor child.
- There are many different designs and themes used, including stone or wax figurines, as well as human and animal actors.
- In some locations a variation is included that has the manger empty until Christmas Eve as a celebration of Christ’s arrival as a child.
- Culturally, certain countries will change the look of the Creche, including more towers, houses, mountains, than what was traditionally used during the 13th Century.
For more information on Advent traditions or symbols and for the original articles referenced in this article, please go to Dynamic Catholic: https://dynamiccatholic.com/best-advent-ever/about-advent and USCCB: http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-year/advent/about-advent-wreaths.cfm