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Understanding the Meaning and Significance of Advent Season

Advent Season is a period of preparation and anticipation leading up to Christmas, traditionally observed by many Christians. It begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day and ends on Christmas Eve, marking the start of the Christian liturgical year.

The word advent is derived from the Latin word adventus, which means coming. During Advent we anticipate the coming of Jesus as a baby. It’s a penitential time full of reflection, excitement, and hope as we prepare to celebrate his birth.

This year Advent begins on Sunday, December 3, 2023. Christmas Eve is the Fourth Sunday of Advent, with Christmas falling on a Monday.

What do the Candles Mean?

The season is often symbolized by an Advent wreath, which consists of four candles, each with a specific meaning:

  1. The First Candle (Purple) - The Candle of Hope: Also known as the "Prophecy Candle," it represents the hope and expectation of the coming of Christ, reflecting on the prophecies about the birth of the Messiah. It is lit on the first Sunday of Advent.

  2. The Second Candle (Purple) - The Candle of Peace: Often called the "Bethlehem Candle," it symbolizes the preparations being made to receive and cradle the Christ child. It is lit on the second Sunday of Advent.

  3. The Third Candle (Pink or Rose) - The Candle of Joy: This is also known as the "Shepherd’s Candle," and it reflects the joy and excitement about the imminent birth of Jesus. The pink color signifies joy and happiness. It is lit on the third Sunday of Advent.

  4. The Fourth Candle (Purple) - The Candle of Love: Also referred to as the "Angel’s Candle," it represents the love and final preparation for the arrival of Christ. It is lit on the fourth Sunday of Advent.

In some traditions, a fifth candle (white) is placed in the center of the wreath and is lit on Christmas Day. This is known as the "Christ Candle" and represents the arrival of Christ in the world.

Advent is a time of reflection, prayer, and penance, with each candle's lighting serving as a reminder of the values and themes central to the Christmas story and Christian beliefs.

Join us each Sunday in December as we explain more about the Advent Season.

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