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Understanding Advent, the Symbolism of Wreaths, and Candle Illumination

As the festive season approaches, a sense of anticipation fills the air. Homes are adorned with twinkling lights and fragrant wreaths, and the aroma of delicious treats wafts through the streets. Amidst this joyous celebration, the Christian tradition of Advent quietly unfolds. 

A season of reflection and preparation, Advent invites us to pause and contemplate the significance of Christmas, commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ and the hope he brings to the world. These symbols, which are rooted in centuries-old practices, contain rich meanings that bring depth and anticipation to the days leading up to Christmas. We will delve into the spirit of Advent, analyze the symbolism of the wreath, and discover the importance of each candle in this post.

What is Advent?

Advent, derived from the Latin word “adventus, meaning “coming,” is a season observed by Christians worldwide. It is the start of the liturgical year and a period of preparation and expectation for the celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth on Christmas Day. Advent is typically four weeks long, representing the four centuries of waiting for the Messiah.

What is an Advent Wreath?

The Advent wreath, a circular arrangement of evergreen branches topped with candles, is at the core of Advent rituals. The evergreen symbolizes hope and the promise of new life, while the circular shape depicts eternity and the never-ending circle of life. The Advent wreath normally contains four candles, one for each week of Advent, surrounding a center, often a bigger, white candle known as the Christ candle. 

Materials used for making Advent wreaths include: 

  1. Evergreen branches
  2. Pinecones
  3. Berries
  4. Ribbons or bows
  5. Ornaments
  6. Wire or a wreath frame
  7. Glue or floral wire
  8. Decorative accents (such as small figurines or bells)
  9. Lights (optional)

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The Meaning of the Various Advent Candles 

Each candle on the Advent wreath has a unique meaning that contributes to the broader story of the season.

Hope (Purple Candle – Week One): The Prophecy Candle

The first candle represents the joyful anticipation of the Messiah’s arrival. As it comes to life, it encourages us to be hopeful and trusting in the fulfillment of God’s promises. This candle is lit on the first Sunday of Advent. 

Peace (Purple Candle – Week Two): The Bethlehem Candle

The second candle, which is lit on the second Sunday of the month, indicates Peace—a peaceful and serene anticipation of the Prince of tranquility. In an often chaotic environment, this candle encourages reflection on the peace that Christ offers to our hearts and the world.

(Pink or Rose Candle – Week Three) : The Shepard’s Candle

Its pink or rose hue represents the pleasure that fills our hearts as the birth of Jesus approaches. This candle serves as a reminder to enjoy the excitement that comes with anticipating Christ’s return. This third candle is on the third Sunday of the month, known as Gaudete Sunday.

(Purple Candle, Week Four): The Angel’s Candle

The emphasis switches to love as the final purple candle is lit. The finale of our Advent journey is love, which represents God’s tremendous affection for humanity in sending His Son. This candle invites us to consider the transformational power of divine love and is lit on the fourth Sunday of the month.

Christ Candle (White Candle – Christmas Eve/Day)

The Christ candle, which is commonly placed in the center of the wreath, remains unlit until Christmas Eve or Day. Its white tint represents Christ’s purity and divinity. When lit, it represents the end of the Advent season and the arrival of the Light of the World.

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The Significance of the Advent Season 

Anticipation and Planning

Advent is a time of joyous expectation and preparation for the celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth. It gives individuals and communities a planned and intentional period to prepare their hearts and minds for the significance of Christmas.

Spiritual Meditation

Advent is a time for spiritual meditation, allowing people to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. It provides opportunities to ponder the deeper meanings of faith, love, and the transformative force of Christ’s coming.

Community and Togetherness

Many Advent traditions incorporate communal activities such as candle lighting, Scripture reading, and hymn singing. This generates a sense of community and togetherness, highlighting the fact that the anticipation of Christ’s birth is a shared experience.

The Culmination of the Liturgical Year

In many Christian traditions, Advent marks the beginning of the liturgical year. It is a foundational season that sets the tone for the following seasons, acting as a spiritual anchor for the entire year. Advent has become a cultural and family ritual for many people, in addition to its religious significance. It pulls families together by supporting the development of meaningful rituals and the development of a sense of oneness via shared activities.

Acts of Kindness and Charity are Encouraged

The Advent season stimulates acts of kindness, generosity, and charity. Many people use this time to perform charitable acts, reflecting the spirit of giving connected with the Christmas season.

A Counterweight to Commercialism

During the Christmas season, the world is often dominated by commercialism and materialism, and Advent presents a counterweight. It shifts the emphasis away from capitalism and toward the spiritual and meaningful parts of Christmas.

Preparation for the Second Coming

In addition to honoring Jesus’ historical birth, Advent focuses on the future expectation of Christ’s second coming. It serves as a reminder to live in hope and expectation of God’s promises being fulfilled.


There is a rich history of significance woven into the tradition of Advent and Advent candles. Let us not only accept the symbols but also live the hope, peace, joy, and love they represent as we embark on this path of expectation and meditation.

This Advent season, elevate the depth of your festivities by perusing the Callie Gift Shop’s carefully picked array of meaningful presents. Find the perfect souvenirs to celebrate the spirit of hope, peace, joy, and love with your loved ones, from exquisite candles to personalized ornaments. Visit the Callie Gift Shop to make this holiday season truly memorable. 

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