The Advent Wreath is more than a pretty decoration. It is a trigger during the four weeks of the Advent season to turn our thoughts and heart toward Jesus.

Many different meanings have been given to the four candles and the other parts of the wreath. None are right or wrong. Here is one common interpretation of the meaning of the various parts of the Advent wreath.

The wreath is circular to symbolize the infinity of God. It is green to symbolize the everlasting life found in Christ and to express Christian hope. The candles signify God’s Son, the Light of the World. Only one candle is lit during the first week. The first candle pierces the darkness of the world. Each week an additional candle is lit, increasing the light as Jesus approaches.

Several different meanings have been given to the four candles. The first candle reminds us God has fulfilled all of his Old Testament prophecies (more than 400!) concerning the coming Savior. It is often called The Prophecy Candle.

The second candle reminds us God prepared for the coming of his Son into the manger of Bethlehem. So we also ought to prepare for his coming into the manger of our hearts today. The second candle is often called The Bethlehem Candle.

The third candle reminds us to tell this good news of the birth of Jesus with joy, just like the shepherds did after they had come and seen the child in the manger. It is often called The Shepherds’ Candle.

The fourth candle reminds us of the Christian’s great hope of resurrection and everlasting life because the Christ Child will come again on the clouds of heaven with his angels. It is often called The Angels’ Candle.

There is often a fifth candle in the center of the Advent Wreath, known as The Christ Candle, symbolizing Jesus as the true Light of the World.

May the Advent wreath, and many other symbols, guide our hearts and minds to faith in Christ Jesus.