During the time of Advent, many people have an Advent wreath
in their homes.
While the decorations are certainly festive and add to the
holiday spirit, there is also much symbolism in the wreath
that people may not recognize.
the wreath is always in the form of a circle.
Since a circle has no beginning and no end, it is a
symbol for God, Who is eternal and without beginning or end.
Advent wreath is always made from evergreens.
These branches, as the name indicates, are "ever
green" -- ever alive.
They are symbolic of Christ, Who died, but Who is
alive, never to die again.
The evergreen branches also symbolize our soul's
Christ came into the world to give us never-ending life.
Entwined around the circle of evergreens are red
They look like large red drops of blood, and symbolize the
blood shed by Christ for mankind.
They remind us that Christ came into this world to
die for us and redeem us.
It is through the shedding of His blood that we have
wreath has four candles, three violet ones and one rose
These symbolize the four weeks of the Advent season, our
time of preparation for Christmas.
Each day, the Liturgy tells us of the Hebrew
expectation of the Messiah in the Old Testament reading, and
the Gospels begin to introduce us to the characters of the
At the beginning of Advent a single candle is lit, but each
week another candle is lit.
As the light from the wreath increases each week as
more candles are lit, the wreath reminds us that the birth
of the Light of the World is coming closer.
So may our souls grow brighter in their love for, and
anticipation of, the Christ Child as this season of grace
color of the four candles also has significance.
The violet candles have a penitential appearance,
much as we find violet in the church during the penitential
season of Lent.
The violet is to remind us that Advent is a season of
preparation in which we should be spiritually preparing our
souls to receive Christ on
single rose-colored candle is lit on the third Sunday of
Advent, which is called "Gaudete" Sunday.
"Gaudete" is the Latin word for "rejoice", and
symbolizes an element of rejoicing in the midst of our
penitential preparation, for the joy of Christmas is almost
violet with white makes the rose color.
It is almost as if the joy we celebrate at Christmas
(symbolized by bright white) cannot contain itself during
this penitential season (violet) and burst forth a bit into
the Advent season.
On Christmas, the four candles are replaced with
white ones -- our time of preparation is over and we enter a
time of great joy.
Advent wreath should be placed in a prominent place in our
families have a smaller Advent wreath in their homes.
This both reminds families of the wreath in their
church and serves as a reminder of their link to the parish
candles are lit at the main meal of the day, with the new
candle lit preferably at the main meal on Sunday, the first
day of the new week.
Joining around the table for a meal should remind the
family of the table of the Lord around which they gather
each week to celebrate the Eucharist -- the meal of the Lord
that nourishes our soul.
next time you see or display an Advent wreath, don't just
think of it as a nice decoration.
Remember all the symbolism it has for us as it
reminds us of the need for spiritual preparation to fully
share in the great joy of the birth of Christ, the Son of
God Who gave His life for us so that we might have eternal