It was used to decorate the home with spiritual meaning and then it was incorporated into the liturgy to provide more disposition to prayer. The candles symbolize the four weeks of advent. It is a moment to welcome Christ on Christmas. Thus, the Advent Wreath aids us to do what is expected of us to meet Christ. The Collect of the first Sunday of Advent sets the tone of the season: “Grant, your faithful we pray O Lord our God, “the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ with righteous deeds at his coming.” One of the means to do this resolve is to have a visible symbol for the season like the Advent Wreath.
2. Symbol of a Journey
Advent makes us remember that life is a journey. The four candles illustrates the gradual journey towards the light. Each Sunday a candle is lighted to symbolize our approach to Christmas from just a simple light to the brightest light who is Christ. Benedict XVI says that “the Evangelist John applies to Jesus the title of “light”: it is a title that belongs to God.” Thus, our journey of life is always towards the light and the Advent Wreath speaks of that thirst of light we have in our hearts.
3. Vision of Fullness of Life
The round base that holds the four candles significantly symbolizes unending desire for Christ. Besides, the whole green color that is used to wrap the wreath likewise symbolizes hope for the fullness of life. The Advent Wreath reminds us that man has the capacity to hope and transcend from an earthly and profane way of life to one that is heavenly hopeful. The fullness of life is a dream, a reality, reachable and a grace. The wreath situates us that the season has come for us set our minds and hearts right. Pope Francis says during the Angelus of the First Sunday of Advent 2019: “The image of staying awake does not mean keeping one’s eyes literally open at all times, but means having one’s heart “free and oriented in the right direction.”
4. Collective Joy
The excitement of all those who have faith in the Lord’s coming cannot just be contained alone in one’s heart. Joy is a gift to be shared. The Advent Wreath stirs up a special form of joy that wonderfully brings us to the joy of the Mystery of the Incarnation. The theme of “vigilance” in the season of Advent includes “waiting for Jesus in the form of “marveling at God’s action and at His surprises.” (Pope Francis at 1st Sunday of Advent 2019) Joy can only be new if it is shared. As Jesus is God’s sharing of His joy to us, then the our celebration of Advent and Christmas should also be collective and fraternal.