Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Advent Wreath
The first modern Advent wreath was created in 1839 by Johann Wichem, a German theologian, for use in a home for poor children that he founded in the city of Hamburg. The symbolism of the Advent wreath is beautiful. The wreath is usually made with evergreens symbolizing eternal life. The circular shape, which has no beginning and no end, symbolizes the eternity of God and the everlasting life that is found in Jesus. The four candles represent the four weeks of Advent. Three of the candles are purple, the color of penitence, because Advent has traditionally been seen as a preparation for the great feast of Christmas. This preparation includes a spiritual housecleaning, a time for repentance and turning one’s life around right. The other candle is pink and is traditionally lit on the third Sunday of Advent. It reminds the faithful that they have arrived at the midpoint of their preparation for Christmas. Therefore the pink reminds everyone that it is time for rejoicing. Finally there is a large white candle in the center of the Advent wreath that symbolizes the light of Christ. This candle is lit at the Christmas services reminding all of Christ’s birth.
Advent wreaths are not only used in the church but are often seen in Christian homes during Advent. They provide a means for families to prepare together for Christmas, and are a visual reminder of the true meaning of Christmas.