When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
There is nothing like the weeks before Christmas when Catholics everywhere prepare to celebrate the light of Christ's entry into our world. During the four Sundays preceding Christmas Eve, we think about traditional objects, such as the Advent Wreath and Advent Candles, which herald the preparation for Christ's presence in our lives.
What better way to welcome friends and family into your home than with a beautiful Advent Wreath on your Christmas dinner party table heralding the Coming of Christ.
In fact, Advent translates from Latin as "the coming." Centuries ago, the Advent season was observed as a period of fasting before the Advent Feast. During this time, Christians followed a ritual first of preparation for Baptism, and then, later, for The Second Coming.
In more recent times, the Advent also called for observance of The Nativity and Christ's presence in our lives through Grace and The Sacrament of Communion. The Advent Wreath's traditional ties with these celebrations dates back to when pre-Christian Germanics displayed wreaths with candles in the shorter, dark days of December to signify the light of Spring. In the Middle Ages, Christians adopted them as part of their preparation for Christmas.
While each of the four candles traditionally found on an Advent Wreath have specific meanings, the Advent Wreath itself represents a number of symbols on its own.
The fragrant circle of evergreens combines to represent the circle of life, the immortality of the soul, the eternity of God and Christ's gift of everlasting life. The various evergreen types woven together each have their own meaning:
- Holly and pine represent immortality
- The laurel celebrates victory over suffering and persecution
- Cedar signifies strength and healing
Holly's barbed leaves also carry a deep symbolism reflecting Christ's Crown of Thorns. Even the pine cones and seeds that decorate the Advent Wreath provide a symbol for the Resurrection.
This year display an Advent Wreath in your home. Your declaration of Christ's Promise for our world will spread the true meaning of the Christmas season in a unique and meaningful way, and it will be an uplifting start to any Christmas dinner party.