The most common symbol of the Advent season is the Advent Wreath. It can be as simple or elaborate as you want it to be, but it will have 4 candles around the perimeter and if you choose, one in the center. The four candles represent the four Sundays or weeks of Advent and the center one is known as the Christ candle.
On the first Sunday, the first candle is lit and each Sunday following you will light the previous Sunday’s candle(s) along with the current Sunday’s. The Christ candle is lit on Christmas Eve. The colors and the names of the candles may differ by Christian denominations.
Regarding the colors I have found 4 variations:
- Four white candles and one red as the Christ candle
- Four red and a white Christ candle
- Four purple and a white Christ candle (these are the colors I use)
- Three purple, a pink (for the 3rd Sunday), and a white Christ candle
The candle names also vary but the one I have found in the majority is :
- First Sunday: The prophecy candle, with a theme of planning
- Second Sunday: The Bethlehem candle, with a theme of preparation
- Third Sunday: The Shepherd’s candle with a theme of sharing
- Fourth Sunday: The Angles’ candle with the theme of joy.
Think of the Sundays in these terms: God planned for Christmas, then the prophets announced his plan, He made preparations centered in Bethlehem, the shepherds shared what they had seen and heard, and the angels announce, “Joy!” To simplify: We plan for Christmas, prepare for it, share it, and rejoice in it!
Our wreath becomes the centerpiece for our table. It becomes a nightly tradition to openly discuss Advent and the celebration of Christ’s birth. We have scripture readings and a small devotion each night. Come back tomorrow for the activities we do around the Advent wreath each night!!