Saturday, December 01, 2012

What Do the Candles Mean in the Advent Wreath?

What do the candles mean for the different weeks of Advent?

Well, first off - the 4 candles are representative of the 4000 years between Adam and Eve and the First Coming of Jesus Christ, each candle representing 1000 years.   They are symbolic of the time of anticipation of the Messiah to come and redeem the world from sin.

Now, for each candle:

WEEK 1 - PURPLE

HOPE is the theme.  As we begin the Liturgical Year, our first lessons are about the hope of the Second Coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!  
EPISTLE (Rom 13. 11-14)
A reading from the Epistle of the blessed apostle Paul to the Romans. Brethren, knowing the time, that it is now the hour for us to rise from sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we believed. The night is past, and the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and impurities, not in contention and envy; but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ.


GOSPEL: (Luke 21. 25-33)
Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Saint Luke.
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: "There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, by reason of the confusion of the roaring of the sea and of the waves: men withering away for fear and expectation of what shall come upon the whole world. For the powers of heaven shall be moved; and then they shall see the Son of man coming in a cloud with great power and majesty. But when these things begin to come to pass, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is at hand." And He spoke to them a similitude: "See the fig tree, and all the trees; when they now shoot forth their fruit, you know that summer is nigh; so you also, when you shall see these things come to pass, know that the kingdom of God is at hand. Amen I say to you, this generation shall not pass away till all things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away."

WEEK 2 - PURPLE

FAITH is the theme. The Day of the Lord is at hand!  Have faith that He is coming again!  Make straight the way of the Lord!
EPISTLE (Rom. 15:4-13)
Brethren: For what things soever were written were written for our learning: that, through patience and the comfort of the scriptures, we might have hope. Now the God of patience and of comfort grant you to be of one mind, one towards another, according to Jesus Christ: That with one mind and with one mouth you may glorify God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore, receive one another, as Christ also hath received you, unto the honour of God. For I say that Christ Jesus was minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: But that the Gentiles are to glorify God for his mercy, as it is written: "Therefore will I confess to thee, O Lord, among the Gentiles and will sing to thy name." And again he saith: "Rejoice ye Gentiles, with his people." And again: "Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles: and magnify him, all ye people." And again, Isaias saith: "There shall be a root of Jesse; and he that shall rise up to rule the Gentiles, in him the Gentiles shall hope." Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing: that you may abound in hope and in the power of the Holy Ghost. 


GOSPEL (Matt. 11:2-10)
At that time, when John had heard in prison the works of Christ: sending two of his disciples he said to him: "Art thou he that art to come, or look we for another?" And Jesus making answer said to them: "Go and relate to John what you have heard and seen. The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead rise again, the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he that shall not be scandalized in me." 
And when they went their way, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: "What went you out into the desert to see? a reed shaken with the wind? But what went you out to see? a man clothed in soft garments? Behold they that are clothed in soft garments, are in the houses of kings. But what went you out to see? A prophet? Yea I tell you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written: 'Behold I send my angel before my face, who shall prepare thy way before thee.' "

WEEK 3 - ROSE (PINK)

JOY is the theme.  Gaudete Sunday!  We're half way through Advent and today we celebrate the anticipated Messiah!
EPISTLE (Philipp. 4:4-7)
Brethren: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Let your moderation be known to all men. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety, but in every prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your petitions be made known to God. And may the peace of God which surpasses all understanding guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus, our Lord.


GOSPEL (John 1:19-28)
At that time, when the Jews sent from Jerusalem priests and Levites to him, to ask him: "Who art thou?" And he confessed and did not deny: and he confessed: "I am not the Christ." And they asked him: "What then? Art thou Elias?" And he said: "I am not." "Art thou the prophet? And he answered: "No." They said therefore unto him: "Who art thou, that we may give an answer to them that sent us? What sayest thou of thyself?" He said: "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Isaias." And they that were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him and said to him: "Why then dost thou baptize, if thou be not Christ, nor Elias, nor the prophet?" John answered them, saying: "I baptize with water: but there hath stood one in the midst of you, whom you know not. The same is he that shall come after me, who is preferred before me: the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to loose." These things were done in Bethania, beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

WEEK 4 - PURPLE

LOVE/CHARITY is the theme.  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish.  John 3:16.  The celebration of the ChristMass is almost upon us!

EPISTLE (I Cor. 4:1-5)
Brethren: Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ and the dispensers of the mysteries of God. Here now it is required among the dispensers that a man be found faithful. But to me it is a very small thing to be judged by you or by man's day. But neither do I judge my own self. For I am not conscious to myself of anything. Yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. Therefore, judge not before the time: until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts. And then shall every man have praise from God.

GOSPEL (Luke 3:1-6)
Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and Philip his brother tetrarch of Iturea and the country of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilina: Under the high priests Anna and Caiphas: the word of the Lord was made unto John, the son of Zachary, in the desert. And he came into all the country about the Jordan, preaching the baptism of penance for the remission of sins. As it was written in the book of the sayings of Isaias the prophet: "A voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be brought low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways plain. And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.


(The readings above are according to the Extraordinary Rite).

The Christ Mass!  WHITE

In some traditions the Advent Wreath also includes a fifth candle, a white one, also called the "Christ Candle" for that reason.  The Christ Candle is lit on Christmas Day.  Also some traditions change out the four colored candles for the Christ Mass and put in all white ones, for the same reason.

See also:
http://cathapol.blogspot.com/2009/12/history-of-advent-wreath.html

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