THE ADVENT WREATH HELPS US TO GET READY TO WELCOME JESUS
Long ago, before Jesus was born, during the dark days of December, the people of Eastern Europe gathered wreaths of evergreen branches and lit fires as a sign of hope and a reminder that spring was on its way. This tradition was adopted by the Christians and by the 1600s the Advent Wreath was used throughout Germany to mark the time spent waiting for the birth of the Christ child at Christmas. From Germany this tradition spread to the rest of the world.
WHAT DOES THE ADVENT WREATH MEAN?
Usually the Advent Wreath is made of four candles, three purple and one pink. They are lit in the following order; week 1 and 2 purple, week 3, pink and week 4 purple.
The candles remind us that Jesus is the light of the world. The colour purple is used because long ago purple dye was very expensive and purple became a colour that was associated with royalty. Advent is the season of the coming of the King. The pink one is lit on the Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday. Long ago Advent was a time of fasting like Lent. On the Third Sunday there was a break from this fast and the priests wore rose or pink coloured vestments. So that tradition became a part of the Advent Wreath. As we light the candles each week we are made aware of our journey through this season. Placing the candles in a circle is symbolic of God’s love for us, a love that has no beginning or end. The use of the evergreen leaves around the candles reminds us that God’s love is everlasting.