Currently the Church is in the middle of the season of Advent. This is the first season of the Church year and is celebrated on the four Sundays that lead up to Christmas. Advent wreaths are prominently displayed in Catholic Churches with the four candles representing the four Sundays of the season. Three of the candles are purple, symbolic of penance and preparation. The fourth candle is pink and it also stands for penance and preparation but also the joy we feel that our waiting period is halfway over.
The fact that the wreath is a circle is symbolic of the eternity we look forward to in God’s loving presence. The fresh greens of the wreath speak to us of new life through the incarnation of Jesus. Finally, the lighted candles represent the light of Christ.
We Catholics are big on symbolism in part because many Catholics over the last twenty centuries were not able to read and depended instead on the symbols to remind us of the stories. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But think of the last really good audio-visual presentation you saw. It was a series of pictures, symbols or phrases that helped the presenter tell the story and the audience appreciate the story.
In simplest terms Advent is a season of preparation. We prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus almost two thousand years ago and we prepare to meet Him again. It might also be good to prepare to meet Jesus in the next person we encounter. If we can learn to see that we are all sisters and brothers of Christ this world will be a better place.
God bless you all,