What do the Advent candles actually mean?

Advent is a time of preparation, of waiting. We’re waiting with Mary in the last days of her pregnancy, thinking of the Jewish people who waited centuries for the Messiah, waiting for Christ to come at Christmas and to come again in glory at the End of Time.

In our busy culture, waiting is often considered wasted time, a frustration or an inconvenience. But in fact, waiting is an opportunity for growth and a chance to really enter into the quiet, stillness, and spiritually prepare our souls for what is to come.

During this season, we mark the passage of time with the Advent wreath. You know there are three purple candles and one rose colored candle, but do you know what each one signifies?

“I can’t tell you how often growing up we would see the ceremony if you got to go to the Mass where they lit the candle for the week, and no one would talk about what the candles represented! They’d just be there. It was a symbol—we knew it meant Advent but we didn’t know what they meant,” said Timmerie Geagea, host of Trending with Timmerie on Relevant Radio®.

1st Candle (Purple): Hope
2nd Candle (Purple): Peace
3rd Candle (Rose): Joy
4th Candle (Purple): Love

You might also see a large white candle at the center of an Advent wreath, which is lit at Christmas to symbolize the Light of Christ.

We begin the Advent season focusing on Hope. It’s a fitting virtue, one that we need as we await the birth of our Savior. We have hope knowing that Christ will be born to us; He will visit us and take on human flesh to save us. God is with us.

The plague of hopelessness in our culture is a sign of something greater. “It really is a cry for God,” explained Timmerie. “It’s a cry for belief in one who loves them unconditionally and a search for a forever home that we’re all created for.”

This Advent, as we wait in prayerful silence and preparation, let’s not forget the meaning of these Advent candles. Let’s focus on Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. In clinging to these virtues, may we enjoy more fully the Light of Christ at Christmas.

Tune in to Trending with Timmerie weekdays at 6-7pm CT only on Relevant Radio®.

Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.