The Advent Wreath
The Advent wreath is part of our long-standing Catholic tradition. However, the actual origins are uncertain, traditionally Advent wreathes are part of the spiritual preparation for Christmas.
The symbolism of the Advent wreath is beautiful.
• The wreath is made of various evergreens, signifying continuous life.
These evergreens have a traditional meaning which can be adapted to our faith:
Laurel signifies victory over persecution and suffering;
Pine, holly, and yew, immortality; and
Cedar, strength and healing.
Holly also has a special Christian symbolism: The prickly leaves remind us of the crown of thorns
The circle of the wreath, which has no beginning or end, symbolizes the eternity of God, the immortality of the soul, and the everlasting life found in Christ.
Pine cones, nuts, or seedpods used to decorate the wreath also symbolize life and resurrection.
• The four candles represent the four weeks of Advent. The light signifies Christ, the Light of the world
Three candles are purple and one is rose:
The purple candles in particular symbolize the prayer, penance, and preparatory sacrifices and goods works undertaken at this time.
The rose candle is lit on the third Sunday, Gaudete Sunday, when the priest also wears rose vestments at Mass; Gaudete Sunday is the Sunday of rejoicing, because the faithful have arrived at the midpoint of Advent, when their preparation is now half over and they are close to Christmas.
The progressive lighting of the candles symbolizes the expectation and hope surrounding our Lord’s first coming into the world and the anticipation of His second coming to judge the living and the dead.
. Some modern-day adaptions include a white candle placed in the middle of the wreath, which represents Christ and is lit on Christmas Eve.