Every year in the De La Salle Pastoral Centre, we make our own Advent wreath with foliage from the fir trees and holly bushes that we are lucky to have here in the grounds. But what is the significance of an Advent wreath?
The ring shape symbolises that our God is eternal. The green foliage symbolises the eternal life we have in Christ. The prickly thorns of the holly remind us of the crown of thorns that pierced the head of Jesus during His Passion and the red berries represent His precious blood.
The four candles on the outside of the ring represent the four Sundays of Advent. A purple candle is lit on the 1st, 2nd and 4th Sundays of Advent. The colour signifies penance and preparation and echoes the liturgical colour of Lent. Purple is the liturgical colour for the seasons of Advent and Lent because these seasons are times of reflection, prayer and preparation.
The rose coloured candle is lit on the 3rd Sunday of Advent, also known as Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete means “rejoice” and we are invited to reflect that our prayerful preparation for the coming of our Saviour is almost complete.
The white candle represents the light of Christ coming into the darkness of the world and it is lit during the vigil Mass on Christmas Eve.
For many of us, Advent can get lost in all the materialistic preparations for Christmas which characterise our modern world. Even those of us who recognise that Christ is the reason for the season, can get dragged into the madness of the commercial celebration that it has become. But take a moment, reflect on this: God became one of us and was born into poverty, not luxury. The Advent Wreath reminds us that the eternal life He offers us is what is important about the season of Christmas.