Let’s look at the Advent wreath and all the symbolism that surrounds it.
The circle of the wreath, which has no beginning and no end, is a symbol of the eternity of God and the everlasting life we find in Christ.
The greens that make up the wreath have special meaning as well. The pine, holly and yew signify immortality, the laurel means victory over persecution and suffering. Cedar represents strength and healing and pine cones that decorate the wreath are a symbol of life and resurrection.
The candles each have their own significance. There are four candles around the the wreath that are for the four weeks of Advent, and one is lit each Sunday. The first candle we light is for Hope. It is sometimes called the ‘Prophecy Candle’ in remembrance of the prophet Isaiah, who foretold the birth of Christ. The second candle represents Love. Sometimes called the ‘Bethlehem Candle’ as a reminder of the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem. The third candle is pink and symbolizes Joy. It is called the ‘Shepherd’s Candle’ and is pink because rose is the liturgical color of Joy. It also reminds us of the joy that the world experienced at the birth of Christ. On the fourth week of Advent we light the last candle to mark our final week of prayer and penance as we wait for the birth of our Savior. Some call this candle the ‘Angels Candle’ symbolizing Peace. It is a reminder of the angel’s message of “Peace on Earth, Good Will Towards Men.” On Christmas day in church the white Christ candle is lit that sits in the center of the wreath.
While we prepare our hearts for Christmas during Advent. It may also be a good thing to reach out to our friends and neighbors who are alone. Drop off a card, cookies or ask if they need help shopping. It will be extra lonely for those who don’t have family at home to share their traditional celebrations with.
Prayer is a wonderful way to open your heart to prepare for the birth of Jesus.
Here is a sample prayer to use during this season of Advent.
This Advent, Lord, come to the manger of my heart.
Fill me with Your presence from the very start.
As I prepare for the holidays and gifts to be given,
Remind me of the gift You gave when You sent Your Son from Heaven.
The first Christmas gift, it was the greatest gift ever.
You came as a baby born in a manger.
Wrapped like the gifts I find under my tree,
Waiting to be opened, to reveal Your love to me.
Restore to me the wonder that came with Jesus' birth,
When He left the riches of Heaven and wrapped Himself in rags of earth.
Immanuel, God with us, Your presence came that night.
And angels announced, "Into your darkness, God brings His Light."
"Do not be afraid," they said, to shepherds in the field.
Speak to my heart today, Lord, and help me to yield.
Make me like those shepherd boys, obedient to Your call.
Setting distractions and worries aside, to You I surrender them all.
Surround me with Your presence, Lord, I long to hear Your voice.
Clear my mind of countless concerns and all the holiday noise.
Slow me down this Christmas, let me not be in a rush.
In the midst of parties and planning, I want to feel Your hush.
This Christmas, Jesus, come to the manger of my heart.
Invade my soul like Bethlehem, bringing peace to every part.
Dwell within and around me, as I unwrap Your presence each day.
Keep me close to You, Lord. It's in Your wonderful Name I pray.
On Christmas day we all rejoice and sing Joy To The World! The twelve days between Christmas day and Epiphany is called Christmastide.