The Advent Wreath
By William M. Mingus III, Advertising Consultant, The News Journal
Growing up in a Catholic household and going to through Catholic school, we always had some type of Advent Wreath. Advent Wreaths carry rich meaning and symbolism. Learning about the meaning of the Advent Wreath can lead us to a deeper appreciation for the Advent season.
The circular shape of the wreath symbolizes God’s complete and unending love for us. Many people like to decorate their Advent Wreaths with natural materials that traditionally carry their own symbolism. Evergreens remind us of our eternal life with Christ. Holly leaves and berries represent the crown of thorns from the Passion of Jesus and his precious blood. Pinecones represent Christ’s Resurrection.
The Advent Wreath traditionally holds four candles, three purple and one rose. Violet is a liturgical color and is used to signify a time of prayer and sacrifice. It is also used during the Advent and Lenten season. Rose is a liturgical color used to signify joy. These candles are lit, one at a time, on each of the four Sundays of the Advent season.
On the first Sunday of Advent the purple “Prophet’s Candle” is lit, symbolizing hope. This is used as a reminder that Jesus is coming. On the second Sunday of Advent, the purple “Bethlehem Candle” is lit, symbolizing faith. This is used as a reminder of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. On the third Sunday of Advent, the rose “Shepard’s Candle” is lit, symbolizing joy. This is used as a reminder of the joy the world experienced at the coming birth of Jesus. On the forth Sunday of Advent, the final purple “Angel’s Candle” is lit, symbolizing peace. This is used as a reminder of the message of the angels “Peace on Earth, good will towards men”.
As we look forward to the New Year I’d like to send everyone this Irish blessing: “May your troubles be less and your blessings be more and nothing but happiness come through your door.”