Candle Lighting Ceremony - Advent

The Meanings of Advent!

Nativity scene Advent

The Advent Season is a time to prepare for Christmas and the feast for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. Advent is full of fabulous meaning and symbolism and we at Candlelight Solutions love meanings (especially if they relate to candles) because they give depth to the things we do and they develop memories that last a lifetime.

The Meaning of the Advent Season


The word Advent comes from a Latin word meaning “coming”. It symbolizes the expectation of the coming of the Messiah (Savior). For the Christian Community this is seen in 3 different ways

          Past                       The birth of Jesus in Bethlehem
          Present                   His coming into our hearts
          Future                    His soon coming again – the end of the World and coming of the Kingdom of Heaven
So, from these meanings, during Advent, we celebrate the past, we prepare our hearts to receive him into our heart and lives in a greater and more meaningful way and we prepare for when he comes again.
During Advent an Advent wreath with four (or 5) candles is used. Sometimes it is hung from the ceiling. Otherwise it takes pride of place on a table usually the dining table. 



The Meaning of the Wreath in Advent

The symbolism of the wreath itself is just fabulous. The wreath is made from evergreen branches which are a symbol of Life…the new life we can have when we allow Him into our hearts and lives. We can choose which type or have them all…they all have fabulous meaning.
  • Bay Laurel          Victory
  • Balsam               Ardent Love
  • Cedar                Strength and Healing - Reminds us His strength is made perfect in our weakness. “I live only for you” - Reminds us to live for Him.
  • Holly                 The prickly Leaves remind us of the Crown of Thorns and the red berries remind us of the Blood of Jesus
  • Pine                  Everlasting life – Eternal life is only gained thru Him.
  • Ivy                   Friendship, Faithfulness and Affection. He is our friend and is faithful in all things.


The Meaning of the Circle in the Advent Wreath

Made in a circle, the wreath reminds us of a crown and that Jesus Christ is our King and He is victorious over sin and death. The circle which has not beginning or end is also a symbol of eternity. We celebrate that we will spend eternity with Him.

The Meaning of the Advent Wreath Candles

The candle itself is symbolic of Light and life. Placing the candles into the wreath is symbolic of Jesus (who came from a spiritual realm) entering our natural world.


The Meaning of the Colors in the Advent Wreath

The colors of the candles are also symbolic. 

Purple, symbolizing wealth and nobility, is a color that was very rare and expensive in the time of Jesus’ birth. Only kings and noblemen could afford it. The purple reminds us that Jesus is sovereign and wants to be King of our Lives. It also tells us that we can prosper in all ways when we yield to his Kingship.
Pink symbolizes love, and friendship reminding us that Jesus loves us and wants to be our closest companion.



The Meaning of the Weeks of Advent


advent wreath purple and pink candles


Week 1 - Hope 

The first Sunday signifies the hope that we have in Jesus when we allow Him to lead us out of darkness into light.


Week 2 – Peace

The second Sunday reminds us that Jesus came to bring Peace and good will. We are reminded of the message that the angels brought to the shepherds…that Jesus would bring Peace on Earth and good will toward men…and our need to take His example and live for others bringing his peace and good will to them. From the words of Zecharias in Luke 1:79….”He will guide our feet into the way of Peace”.


Week 3 – Love

The third Sunday signifies Love. This is the Pink candle. We are reminded that He is Love and that He loves us with an everlasting Love and that we are to Love one another as Christ urged us.


Week 4 - Joy

The forth Sunday signifies Joy. As the day of celebration draws close we become excited with anticipation and joy. We are reminded that a life with Him is one full of Joy!


The Lighting of the Candles in the Advent Wreath

The Lighting of the Candles commences four Sundays before Christmas Eve. A new candle is lit each week. The purple candles are lit on weeks 1, 2 and 4. The pink candle is lit on the 3rd week. A fifth white candle (sometimes placed in the centre of the wreath) is lit on Christmas Eve. 


The Advent Candle Wreath Lighting Ceremony

Before the evening meal on Week one, the first candle is lit. A prayer or poem is said or some devotional verses are read.  The candle burns during the meal. Either during the meal, or after the meal, discussion is held about the significance of the Advent, the week being celebrated and the colors. Some families will have quizzes and coloring-ins for the children. Others discuss ways they can draw closer to God and how to practically outwork the message of the week.

Who Lights The Candles at Advent?

Each family will decide the tradition they will follow for their lighting ceremony. Some families start with the youngest child the first week, next youngest the second week working thru the rest of the children to the end when the parents light the fifth candle in the center on Christmas Eve. Others start the oldest child. Some families have the mother or the father light the candles each week. Still others have a guest light the candle. Whoever lights, it does not matter….it is your tradition and you may apply whatever significance is relevant to your family.


Two boys lighting advent candles

Pictured above are two boys lighting an advent wreath with a difference.  4 red candles and one pink central candle were chosen for this wreath. And below an advent wreath using all red candles.

red candle advent wreath

Family traditions around the world differ on the order of the candle lighting, who does it, when and why. We offer here some suggestions. If you have a different tradition, please let us know through the “Contact us” section on the Website www.candlelightsolutions.com and we will look at including your ideas and traditions.

Click here to get your advent wreath candles.           

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