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Advent

December 1, 2019

Advent wreath with one rose candle and three purple candles, all lit, Author Jonathunder (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign:  Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7: 14).

Advent is a season of spiritual preparation in the Christian calendar.  It recalls the period of anticipation as the world awaited the coming of the Messiah.

The use of a wreath and candles during Advent is a longstanding tradition, dating as far back as the Middle Ages.  The circular shape of the wreath symbolizes the eternity of God, the immortality of the soul, and the everlasting life believers have in Christ.

The individual evergreens comprising the wreath, also, have symbolic meaning.  Pine, holly, and yew are symbols of immortality.  Cedar is a symbol of strength and healing.  Laurel is a symbol of victory over trials and persecution.  The pine cones decorating the wreath symbolize life and resurrection.

The candles have special significance.  Four candles are lit in turn during the four weeks of Advent.  Three of these candles are purple because that liturgical color signals a time of prayer, repentance, and sacrifice.

  • The first Advent candle represents hope.  This is, also, called the Prophecy Candle – referring to the prophets, particularly Isaiah who foretold the birth of Christ.
  • The second candle represents faith.  It is called the Bethlehem Candle, as a reminder of the journey to Bethlehem.
  • The third candle (which is pink or rose) represents joy. This is called the Shepherd’s Candle.
  • The fourth candle represents peace.  It is called the Angel’s Candle, reminding us of the angelic message, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2: 14).

In recent times, use of a fifth, white, candle in the center of the Advent wreath has become popular.  This represents purity.  Called the Christ Candle, it is lit on Christmas Eve.

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6 Comments
  1. I often wonder Anna, how it must have been so long ago when the Lord was silent in the period between the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament. I can’t help but believe that this period only served to enhance the expectancy that the Messiah would come.

    I am so thankful to God that he opened my eyes one day to the truth of his Son Jesus!

    • I wholeheartedly agree, Ron. We are so blessed by His coming!

    • Interesting thought … I’m guessing it was much like today, with some longing for His coming, others having given up, giving Him little or no thought.

      • You’re probably right about that. People are generally the same for the most part, irrespective of the generation in which they live. Same wants,needs, hopes and dreams,etc.

  2. Interesting post Anna!
    I never knew what the wreath represented, it is a beautiful sentiment.

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