Light in the midst of darkness … Faith amid doubt, despair and unbelief … Hope for springtime of new life … This is what our Advent wreath represents. Each candle too has its own significance. In the first place, the purple color symbolizes royalty, repentance, and fasting. Pink/rose represents joyfulness and rejoicing. Second is symbolism of each candle:
First Candle: Hope – called the “Prophet’s Candle.” The prophets of the Old Testament, especially Isaiah, waited in hope for the Messiah’s arrival.
Second Candle: Faith/Preparation – called “Bethlehem’s Candle.” Micah had foretold that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, which is also the birthplace of King David.
Third Candle: Joy – called the “Shepherd’s Candle.” The angels bring tidings of great joy to the shepherds that the savior of the world has been born.
Fourth Candle: Love/Peace – called the “Angel Candle.” The angels announced that Jesus came to bring peace–He came to bring people close to God and to each other again. Why? Because He loves us.
Today we light the second candle – the candle of faith and preparation… In fact this is precisely what we hear proclaimed in the readings of the Mass – “prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths…” John the Baptist spent his entire ministry preparing the Israelite people for the long anticipated Messiah. They knew what they were preparing for… they were being made ready for His arrival. In fact, this is precisely the meaning of the word ‘prepare’ – to make ready for … but in our case, in our lives today, we know the story … Jesus was born, died, rose from the dead … for what exactly do we prepare? For what are we being made ready?
The word ready is defined as this: in a suitable condition for action, for operation … A mechanic prepares your car to be driven … a chef prepares a meal to be eaten … for what are we preparing … being made ready for what? For many, the celebration of Christmas will not extend beyond family gatherings, presents, meals, decorating, and so forth – these are not bad things, I do all those things myself … But doesn’t the Lord ask us for something different? Does He not expect that we also prepare interiorly, spiritually? so that we are ready to celebrate His birth? Yes, of course … but His birth where, in time? That has happened already … He is coming to be born again in our hearts, minds and souls … You see, the advent wreath reminds us of our spiritual journey towards God … of the gift of His Light within us, of His Grace in our hearts … of a renewed life lived in Christ … We are being made ready for what … to be Christians … to find us in a suitable disposition to be Christians … ready to act and live in accordance with graces and spiritual gifts we spend so much time preparing to receive. As we light the second advent candle let us not neglect the time and effort spent on being prepared in this way …