This Sunday is the official beginning of Advent. Advent means “arriving,” and is the celebration of the coming of Jesus. During the four weeks of Advent, we will be lighting candles on the Advent wreath, which is full of traditional symbolism. In case you’re less familiar with these traditions, here’s a brief overview.
The evergreen wreath signifies life. As a circle with no beginning or end, the wreath symbolizes the eternity of God, the immortality of the human soul, and the everlasting life that is ours in Christ Jesus. As Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
The five candles each have their own particular significance as well. The first candle symbolizes hope. It is sometimes called the “Prophecy Candle” because it was the prophets who foretold the birth of Christ and the light of hope that He would bring into this dark world. The second candle represents love. It is also called the “Bethlehem Candle” as a reminder of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem for the census. The third candle symbolizes joy. It is called the “Shepherd’s Candle,” and recalls the joyous tidings given to the shepherds watching their flocks by night. The fourth candle symbolizes peace. It is also known as the “Angel’s Candle,” for they announced the birth of Christ with the words, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14). The fifth candle is placed in the middle of the wreath and is lit on Christmas Eve. This candle is called the “Christ Candle” and represents the birth of Jesus Christ who has come to be the Savior of the world.
So as we celebrate Advent, let us remember the Christ of Christmas. For because of Jesus, we are loved, more than we know!