The season of Advent begins with the fourth Sunday before Christmas (November 29).
“Advent” is a Latin word meaning “the coming.” During the season of Advent, Christians around the world prepare for the celebration of the coming of the Lord into the world through the birth of His Son, Jesus Christ. Advent is a time to celebrate light in the midst of darkness, as symbolized best by the Advent wreath.
The Advent wreath is the widely recognized symbol of Advent. The wreath is evergreen branches laid flat to symbolize the endless nature of God’s love for people. Four candles stand in the circle. Traditionally, three of the candles are purple, and the fourth, pink. The white candle stands in the middle of the wreath and remains unlit until Christmas Eve. One candle is lit during the first week of Advent, two during the second week, three during the third week, and four during the fourth week. The candles remind us of the light of God coming into the world, and the light from the candles grows brighter as each week we come closer to the birth of Christ. On Christmas Eve all candles are lit.
Week one (November 29) – HOPE – Isaiah 9:6 (purple candle)
Week two (December 6) – LOVE – John 3:16 (purple candle)
Week three (December 13) – JOY – Psalm 100:1 (pink candle)
Week four (December 20) – PEACE – John 14:27 (purple candle)
Christmas Eve (December 24) – Christ candle (white)