Advent Wreath Explained - Special Meaning and Symbolism of Advent Candles with Prayer



November 28, 2021 begins the new liturgical year, C, and the season of Advent. This is a time of preparation before Christmas. Traditionally, a wreath of candles is made and 1 lit each Sunday.
All About Advent Wreaths
Traditionally, Advent wreaths are constructed of a circle of evergreen branches into which four candles are inserted, representing the four weeks of Advent.
 
Ideally, three candles are purple and one is rose, but white candles can also be used. 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.
Above Text Edited from the USCCB


WREATH Candle Symbolism:
The wreath and candles are full of symbolism associated with the Christmas season. 
*The wreath itself, which is made of various evergreens, signifies “CONTINUOUS LIFE”. The circle of the wreath, which has no beginning or end, symbolise the eternity of God, the immortality of the soul, and the everlasting life we find in Christ. 
*The first candle, which is purple, symbolizes “HOPE”. It is sometimes called the “PROPHECY CANDLE” in remembrance of the prophets, especially Isaiah, who foretold the birth of Christ. It represents the expectation felt in anticipation of the coming Messiah. 
*The second candle, also purple, represents “FAITH”. It is called the “BETHLEHEM CANDLE” as a reminder of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. 
*The third candle is pink and symbolizes “JOY”. It is called the “SHEPARD’S CANDLE” and is pink because rose is a liturgical color for joy. The third Sunday of Advent is called “GAUDETE SUNDAY” and is meant to remind us of the joy that the world experienced at the birth of Jesus, as well as the joy that the faithful have reached the midpoint of Advent. 
*On the fourth week of Advent, we light the final purple candle to mark the final week of prayer and penance as we wait for the birth of our Savior. This final candle, the “ANGEL’S CANDLE” symbolizes “PEACE”.  It reminds us of the message of the angels: “Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men.” 
*The white candle is placed in the middle of the wreath and lit on Christmas Eve. This candle is called the “CHRIST CANDLE” and represents the life of Christ. The color white is for “PURITY” because Christ is our sinless, pure Savior.
Advent Prayer:
Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God, 
the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ
with righteous deeds at his coming,
so that, gathered at his right hand,
they may be worthy to possess the heavenly Kingdom.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
PRAYER over the Wreath:
Lord our God,
we praise you for your Son, Jesus Christ:
he is Emmanuel, the hope of the peoples,
he is the wisdom that teaches and guides us,
he is the Savior of every nation.
Lord God,
let your blessing come upon us
as we light the candles of this wreath.
May the wreath and its light
be a sign of Christ’s promise to bring us salvation.
May he come quickly and not delay.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Response: Amen.

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