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advent wreath, four candles lit

The name 'Advent' comes from the Latin meaning arrival, and refers to Christ's coming into this world. It is the time of year when we get ready to celebrate Christmas, the anniversary of the birth and coming of Jesus Christ. Advent also refers to the Second Coming, when Christ will return to judge the world.

The first Sunday of Advent is the Sunday closest to 30 November (the feast of St Andrew) and falls between 27 November and 3 December. The fourth Sunday of Advent is the Sunday before 25 December.

The first Sunday of Advent also marks the beginning of the new Church calendar.

Symbolism of the Advent Wreath

  • The four candles represent the four weeks of Advent.
  • The unlighted candles represent the dark ages before Christ's coming.
  • The lighted candles represent Christ, the Light of the World. Each week we light one more candle and that represents the idea that the coming of Christ is closer.
  • The circular form of the wreath symbolises that God has no beginning and no end.
  • The green of the boughs indicates hope - just as the green of spring indicates new life.
  • The word Advent means the coming of promise.