The Meaning of Advent
Advent marks the beginning of the Church year – it means arrival or coming and is the four week season that leads up to Christmas. It is a time for reflection and joyful expectation as we await the coming of our Saviour Jesus Christ.The use of a wreath is a longstanding tradition tied to Advent and the lead up to the Christmas season. The wreath itself is made of evergreens and symbolises life. As it is in a circle it represents God’s unending love, the eternity of God and the everlasting life we find in Christ. A candle is lit each Sunday leading up to Christmas Day.
The first candle is the Prophesy Candle in remembrance of the prophets: Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)
The second candle is the Bethlehem Candle representing love: “This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12).
The third candle is the Shepherd’s Candle representing joy: In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord. (Luke 2:8–11).
The fourth candle is the Angel’s Candle representing peace: And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favours!’ (Luke 2:13–14).
On Christmas Eve the Christ Candle is lit representing the life of Christ come into the world.