During the holiday season, it’s common to see Advent candles and wreaths throughout churches and homes. But what is the meaning behind these candles? Each candle on the wreath has its own special symbolism that represents the preparation and anticipation for the birth of Jesus. The four candles stand for hope, peace, joy, and love. Each candle is lit on a specific Sunday leading up to Christmas Day.
The first candle, which is typically purple or blue, represents hope. It is also known as the Prophet’s Candle. This candle symbolizes the anticipation and expectation of the coming of the Messiah. During Advent, we are reminded to have hope for our future because of the promises that God has made to us. The hope candle is also a reminder of the hope Mary felt while carrying Jesus in her womb.
The second candle, or the Bethlehem candle, represents peace. It too is often a shade of purple or blue. The candle symbolizes the peace we feel when we have faith and trust in God. It also reminds us of the peace that came over the shepherds as they heard the angel’s announcement of Jesus’ birth. This candle is a reminder to slow down and find peace in the midst of the holiday chaos.
The meaning behind the Advent wreath
The Advent wreath is a sacred symbol used during the period of Advent in Christianity. It is usually made up of evergreen branches formed into a circle that holds four candles, with one candle being lit every Sunday leading up to Christmas day. But what does each Advent candle symbolize?
- The first candle symbolizes hope, also known as the prophecy candle. It represents the expectation felt in anticipation of the coming of the Messiah, who would bring light into the darkness of the world. This candle reminds us to look forward to the birth of Jesus Christ with hope and faith.
- The second candle symbolizes love and is known as the Bethlehem candle. Its significance comes from the historical journey Mary and Joseph took to Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus. It represents the love of God towards humanity, shining through Christ’s arrival, and encourages us to love and care for others as Christ would want us to.
- The third candle symbolizes joy, also known as the Shepherds’ candle. Joy is one of the fruit of the Holy Spirit, and this candle represents the joy that will come when the season of waiting is over and the birth of Jesus Christ is finally celebrated. It encourages us to experience and express joy in our lives, no matter the circumstances.
- The fourth candle symbolizes peace, known as the angel candle. It represents the peace Christ will bring to our hearts, lives, and the world. The angel’s message to the shepherds on the first Christmas night was, “Peace on earth and goodwill towards men,” and this candle serves as a reminder of that message. It also reminds us that peace should continually be sought in our relationships with others and the world.
The lighting of the Advent wreath can be a powerful and meaningful tradition for Christians. It helps to keep our focus on the true meaning of Christmas and allows us to take time for reflection and anticipation of the coming of Jesus Christ.
The Colors of the Advent Candles and Their Significance
One of the most appealing aspects of Advent wreaths is the beautiful and vibrant colors of the candles. Each candle has a specific color that represents different aspects of this holy season, adding to the overall symbolism and meaning of Advent. In this section, we will discuss the colors of the Advent candles and their significance in more detail.
- Purple Candles – The most common color of Advent candles is purple. Purple represents repentance and preparation, as people prepare their hearts and minds for the coming of Christ. The first and second purple candles are lit during the first and second weeks respectively.
- Pink Candle – The third candle is pink, and it represents joy and celebration. This candle is lit on Gaudete Sunday, which is the third Sunday of Advent, marking the halfway point to Christmas. It reminds us to embrace the joy and anticipation of the Lord’s coming.
- White Candle – The fourth and final candle is white, which represents purity, light, and hope. This candle is lit on the fourth Sunday of Advent, signifying the arrival of a new beginning, and that the Christ-child is almost here.
The colors of Advent candles can also vary slightly between different traditions and faiths. One variation, for instance, is to replace one of the purple candles with a blue candle. The blue represents hope and God’s promise of forgiveness and salvation. This Advent tradition primarily comes from Scandinavia and other parts of Northern Europe.
Another variation that some churches observe is lighting five candles instead of four. The fifth candle is placed in the center of the wreath and is white, symbolizing Christ and His coming. This extra white candle is lit on Christmas Day, signifying the birth of Jesus and the start of the Christmas season.
In conclusion, the colors of the Advent candles are not just eye-catching decorations; they hold deep meaning and significant symbolism. They help us to reflect on the true spirit of the season and to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ. Whether it’s the traditional colors of purple and pink or the variations of blue and white, every Advent candle represents an essential aspect of the Christmas story and invites us to embrace the spirit of waiting and hope.
The History of the Advent Season
The Advent season is observed in many Christian communities before Christmas. It signifies the coming or arrival of Jesus Christ. The word “advent” is derived from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming” or “arrival”. The season usually starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. The exact date of the start of the Advent season varies depending on the Christian denomination.
The Advent season has been celebrated since the 4th century. It began as a time of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. It was also a time of fasting and reflection. In the early years, the Advent season lasted for 40 days. However, in the 6th century, the duration of the Advent season was shortened to four weeks.
The Symbolism of the Advent Candles
- The first candle: Hope – The first candle is lit on the first Sunday of Advent. It symbolizes hope and is called the “Prophet’s Candle”. It represents the expectation and anticipation of the coming of Jesus Christ.
- The second candle: Peace – The second candle represents peace and is called the “Bethlehem Candle”. It’s lit on the second Sunday of Advent to symbolize the peace that Jesus brings to the world.
- The third candle: Joy – The third candle is called the “Shepherd’s Candle”. It symbolizes joy and is lit on the third Sunday of Advent. The candle represents the joy that the shepherds felt when they received the news of Jesus’ birth.
- The fourth candle: Love – The fourth candle represents love and is called the “Angel’s Candle”. It’s lit on the fourth Sunday of Advent to represent the love of God towards mankind.
- The fifth candle: Christ candle – Some traditions have a fifth candle, also known as the Christ candle, which is lit on Christmas Eve to signify the arrival of Jesus Christ.
The Three Dimensions of Advent
In addition to the symbolism of the Advent candles, the Advent season has three dimensions:
The first dimension is focused on reflecting on the past. Christians contemplate the history of God’s people and the prophecies that led to the coming of Jesus Christ.
The second dimension is focused on the present. Christians are encouraged to prepare themselves for the coming of Jesus Christ. It’s a time of self-reflection and repentance.
The third dimension is focused on the future. Christians look forward to the second coming of Jesus Christ. This dimension helps Christians to prepare themselves for the future and look forward to the fulfillment of God’s promises.
The Advent Wreath
The Advent wreath is a circular wreath made of evergreen branches. It’s decorated with candles, and each candle represents a different aspect of the Advent season. The wreath serves as a symbol of the Advent season and is used in many Christian homes and churches.
|Hope and expectation
|Peace and preparation
|Joy and rejoicing
|Love and light
The Advent wreath helps Christians to remember the true meaning of Christmas and the significance of the Advent season. The candles are lit every Sunday during the Advent season, leading up to the lighting of the Christ candle on Christmas Eve.
The Advent season is a time of celebration, reflection, and preparation. It’s a time to reflect on the past, prepare for the present, and look forward to the future. The symbolism of the Advent candles, the three dimensions of Advent, and the Advent wreath all serve to help Christians remember the true meaning of Christmas.
The Differences Between Advent and Christmas
Advent and Christmas are two of the most celebrated religious holidays all over the world. While the two are related, there are subtle differences that set them apart.
- Meaning: The word “advent” comes from the Latin word “adventus,” which means “coming” or “arrival.” Advent is a time of preparation for the celebration of Christ’s birth. On the other hand, Christmas is the birth of Jesus Christ and is celebrated on December 25.
- Duration: Advent is a four-week season that usually starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. However, Christmas only lasts for a day, which is December 25.
- Celebration: During Advent, people observe a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the coming of Christ. Christians participate in various acts of devotion such as lighting Advent candles, praying, and performing acts of charity. Christmas, on the other hand, is a much more festive celebration with traditions such as exchanging gifts, attending mass, and sharing meals with family and friends.
While Advent and Christmas are distinct from each other, they are connected in a way that cannot be ignored. Advent sets the stage for Christmas, and Christmas brings to fruition the preparation made during Advent. Understanding the differences between these two holidays can help us appreciate the unique significance of each one.
The Symbolism of Each Advent Candle
The Advent wreath is a beloved tradition that’s been around for centuries. This wreath typically consists of four candles (sometimes five) surrounding a larger, white candle in the center. Each Sunday of Advent, a new candle is lit to symbolize the growing anticipation of the arrival of Christ. Here’s what each Advent candle represents:
- First Candle: The first candle is purple, and it symbolizes hope. As we light this candle, we reflect on the hope we have in Christ’s coming and how it gives us strength during difficult times.
- Second Candle: The second candle is also purple and is lit on the second Sunday of Advent. This candle represents love. We reflect on the incredible love God has for us, which is why He sent His son to be our Savior.
- Third Candle: The third candle is pink or rose, and it’s lit on Gaudete Sunday, which is the third Sunday of Advent. This candle represents joy. As we light this candle, we remember the joy that the coming of the Messiah brought to the world.
- Fourth Candle: The fourth candle is also purple and is lit on the fourth and final Sunday of Advent. This candle represents peace. As we light this candle, we reflect on the peace that Christ brings to our lives and the world.
The center candle, also known as the Christ candle, is usually white and is lit on Christmas Day. It symbolizes the birth of Christ, the light of the world.
The History of the Advent Wreath
The Advent wreath tradition originates from pre-Christian times, where Germanic people lit candles during the winter solstice to symbolize the hope of the coming spring. As Christianity spread, the tradition was adapted, and the symbolism of the candles was aligned with the Christian faith.
The first recorded use of the Advent wreath was in 1839 by a Lutheran pastor named Johann Hinrich Wichern. He created a wreath with 24 small candles and four large ones to help children count the days leading up to Christmas. Over time, the Advent wreath became a popular tradition in many Christian denominations and is still widely used today.
|Hope and Peace
|Christ – The Light of the World
The Advent wreath is a meaningful tradition that reminds us of the hope, love, joy, and peace that Christ brings to our lives. As we light each candle, we are reminded of the significance of Christ’s birth and are strengthened in our faith.
How Advent is Celebrated in Different Parts of the World
In many countries, the season of Advent is a time of joyful anticipation leading up to the celebration of Christmas. While the core principles of Advent are the same across the globe, the way that they are celebrated can vary widely from country to country. Below are just a few examples of how Advent is observed around the world:
- Germany: The Advent season in Germany is steeped in tradition, with many families marking the occasion by lighting Advent wreaths and attending church services. One notable German Advent tradition is the Christkindlmarkt, or Christmas market, where vendors sell holiday treats, handmade gifts, and other festive items.
- Mexico: In Mexico, the weeks leading up to Christmas are known as Las Posadas, which translates to “The Inns.” This time is marked by processions, in which people travel from house to house, reenacting Mary and Joseph’s search for a place to stay in Bethlehem. At each home, they are greeted with music, food, and other festivities.
- Italy: Many Italians observe Advent by displaying a presepio, or Nativity scene, in their homes. In addition to the usual figures of Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus, these scenes often feature detailed depictions of rural life in ancient Bethlehem. Italians also celebrate La Festa di Santa Lucia, or St. Lucy’s Day, on December 13th, which marks the beginning of the Christmas season.
In addition to these unique customs, there are also some universal practices that are observed throughout the Advent season. For example, many Christians light Advent candles to mark each week of the season. Typically, there are four candles, one for each Sunday leading up to Christmas. The candles are often arranged in a wreath, and each one has a symbolic meaning:
Other familiar Advent traditions include the use of wreaths, calendars, and other symbols that help to mark the passage of time. Whether celebrated in grand style or with simple gestures, Advent is a time of reflection and preparation for Christians around the world.
The symbolism of the first Advent candle (Hope)
Advent is a season of preparation and anticipation for the birth of Jesus. As part of this celebration, Advent candles are lit to represent the four themes of the season: hope, peace, joy, and love. Each candle has its own meaning and significance, and the first candle lit is the candle of hope.
At its core, hope represents the expectation that something good will happen. Specifically, in the context of Advent, the candle of hope symbolizes the hope that God’s promise of a Savior will be fulfilled. This hope is not just wishful thinking; it is a belief that is grounded in the promises of God.
- The candle of hope is usually purple or blue.
- It is often called the “Prophet’s Candle” because it represents the prophets who foretold the coming of Jesus.
- The candle is often placed in the center of the Advent wreath and is lit on the first Sunday of Advent.
During this season, the candle of hope serves as a reminder that no matter how hopeless our circumstances may seem, there is always reason to hope in God’s promises. It reminds us that even in the darkest of times, God is working behind the scenes to bring about His plan for our lives.
In conclusion, the candle of hope is a powerful symbol of the Advent season. It represents the expectation that something good is coming and reminds us to trust in God’s promises. Let us light this candle with hope in our hearts and trust in the goodness of God!
The Symbolism of the Second Advent Candle (Peace)
The second Advent candle, also known as the Peace candle, represents the hope for peace in a world full of chaos and turmoil. This candle is traditionally lit on the second Sunday of Advent, and it reminds us to slow down, take a deep breath, and focus on the peace that we all crave during this busy holiday season.
- The color of the second candle is often purple, which represents royalty and the coming of Jesus as the Prince of Peace.
- Some churches may use a blue candle for the second week of Advent, which symbolizes the night sky and the peacefulness that comes with the stillness of the night.
- The Peace candle is often paired with the first Advent candle, which represents hope, to remind us that true peace can only come when we believe in and have hope for a better future.
During the lighting of the Peace candle, we may read verses from the Bible that remind us of the importance of peace in our lives:
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” – John 14:27
“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7
|Purple or Blue Color
|Represents the coming of Jesus as the Prince of Peace or the peacefulness of the night sky.
|Pairing with Hope Candle
|Reminds us that true peace can only come when we believe in and have hope for a better future.
The Peace candle serves as a reminder to all of us that even in the midst of chaos and uncertainty, we can find a sense of calm and stillness by focusing on the peace that surpasses all understanding. It encourages us to reflect on our own lives and how we can cultivate more peace in our interactions with others and within ourselves. Let us take this message of peace with us throughout the holiday season and beyond.
The Symbolism of the Third Advent Candle (Joy)
The third Advent candle represents joy, and it is usually pink or rose-colored. This candle signifies the anticipation and excitement of the coming of Christ, and the joy that his birth brings to the world.
- The color pink or rose represents joy and happiness, which parallels the hopeful anticipation of the Christmas season.
- As the third candle, it signifies the halfway point of the Advent season, and it also brings a sense of relief and celebration that the end of the year is approaching.
- The candle also reminds us to share our joy with others, as it is a time of giving and serving those in need.
In addition to these symbolic meanings, the third Advent candle has a deeper spiritual significance for Christians. It represents the joy that comes from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and the hope that his birth and presence brings into our lives.
As we light the third candle, we are reminded of the words of the angel in Luke 2:10-11, who proclaimed to the shepherds, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”
|Hope and Anticipation
|Preparation and Peace
|Joy and Celebration
|Love and Grace
|The Birth of Christ and His Light in the World
Overall, the third Advent candle is a symbol of the joy that comes from the birth of Jesus Christ, and it reminds us to share that joy with others during this season of giving and celebration.
The Symbolism of the Fourth Advent Candle (Love)
The fourth Advent candle, also known as the “Angel Candle,” symbolizes love. As the final candle lit in the Advent wreath, it represents the ultimate message of the holiday season. Love is a universal human experience that crosses all boundaries of culture, tradition, and religion. During advent, love encourages us to reflect on the importance of sharing this emotion with those around us.
- Love for Family: During the advent season, many families come together to celebrate traditions and share love with one another. It is a time to prioritize spending time with loved ones, whether it be through gift-giving, storytelling, or simply enjoying a meal together.
- Love for Community: Advent encourages us to look beyond our immediate circle of family and friends and to reflect on our love for all members of our community. This can translate to volunteering, donating to charitable causes, or simply being kind to strangers.
- Love for Humanity: The advent season is also a time to reflect on our love for all members of humanity. This can be achieved through advocating for social justice, supporting global humanitarian causes, or simply being inclusive and open to people from all walks of life.
The Angel Candle also symbolizes the messages of peace, hope, and joy, which are represented by the other three Advent candles. The ultimate message of love during Advent reminds us of our interconnectedness as humans and the power of our collective love to create a better world.
The fourth Advent candle is traditionally purple or pink in color, symbolizing the royalty of Jesus and the joy of his birth. It is often decorated with angelic figures or other symbols of love. In addition to being lit during the Advent season, it is also often lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day as a symbol of the ultimate expression of God’s love for humanity.
|Symbols love and reminds us of our interconnectedness as humans
|Symbolizes the royalty of Jesus and the joy of his birth
In conclusion, the fourth Advent candle is a beautiful reminder of the ultimate message of the holiday season: love. It encourages us to prioritize spending time with loved ones and to reflect on our love for all members of our community and humanity. By sharing our collective love, we can create a better world and spread the messages of peace, hope, joy, and love all year round.
The Symbolism of the Center Christ Candle on the Advent Wreath
The center Christ candle on the Advent wreath is the focal point of the wreath as it represents the ultimate purpose of the Advent season, which is the birth of Jesus Christ. This candle is usually placed in the center of the wreath, and it is the last candle to be lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
- Symbol of Hope: The Christ candle symbolizes hope as it represents the light of the world that brings hope to humanity. Just as the candle’s light shines in the darkness, Jesus Christ’s birth brings hope to a world of darkness and despair.
- Symbol of Purity: The white color of the Christ candle symbolizes purity, righteousness, and holiness. Jesus Christ was born pure and sinless, and his birth represents the beginning of a new era of purity, righteousness, and holiness.
- Symbol of Divinity: The Christ candle represents the divinity of Jesus Christ. He is the Son of God who came to earth to save humanity from sin and death. By lighting the Christ candle on Christmas Day, we honor his divinity and sacrifice for humanity.
In some traditions, the center Christ candle is called the “Christus-Licht” or “Christ light,” which further emphasizes its significance in the Advent season.
The Christ candle is usually decorated with unique symbols such as the cross, alpha, and omega, or the Chi-Rho symbol, which represents the name of Jesus in Greek. These symbols further emphasize the divinity of Jesus Christ and his mission on earth.
|Represents the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross for the salvation of humanity
|Alpha and Omega
|Represents the beginning and end of all things and Jesus Christ’s eternal nature
|Represents the name of Jesus Christ in Greek
The Christ candle is the most significant candle on the Advent wreath, and it represents the culmination of the Advent season, which is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. By lighting the Christ candle, we acknowledge the fulfillment of God’s promises and his provision of hope, purity, and divinity through the birth of his Son.
FAQs about What Does Each Advent Candle Symbolize
1. What are Advent candles?
Advent candles are candles that are lit on each Sunday leading up to Christmas, starting on the fourth Sunday before Christmas.
2. What do the Advent candles symbolize?
The Advent candles symbolize the hope, peace, joy, and love that Christ brings into the world.
3. How many Advent candles are there?
There are four Advent candles, one for each Sunday leading up to Christmas.
4. What does the first Advent candle symbolize?
The first Advent candle symbolizes hope and is often called the “hope candle.”
5. What does the second Advent candle symbolize?
The second Advent candle symbolizes peace and is often called the “peace candle.”
6. What does the third Advent candle symbolize?
The third Advent candle symbolizes joy and is often called the “joy candle.”
7. What does the fourth Advent candle symbolize?
The fourth Advent candle symbolizes love and is often called the “love candle.”
Closing Title: Thanks for Learning About What Each Advent Candle Symbolizes
Thanks for taking the time to learn about the symbols and meanings behind the Advent candles. We hope this article has helped you gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for this beautiful Christmas tradition. Please visit us again as we continue to provide informative and engaging content. Have a joyous and peaceful holiday season!