The color for Advent is Purple. It’s the color of penitence and fasting as well as the color of royalty to welcome the Advent of the King-Jesus. The purple of Advent is also the color of suffering used during Lent and Holy Week. There is an important connection between Jesus’ birth and death. The nativity, the Incarnation, cannot be separated from the crucifixion. The purpose of Jesus’ coming into the world, of the “Word made flesh” and dwelling among us, is to reveal God and His grace to the world through Jesus’ life and teaching, but also through His suffering, death, and resurrection.
Advent means coming or arrival. The focus of the entire season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ in his First Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent. The Spirit of Advent is marked by expectation, of anticipation, of preparation, of longing. There is a yearning of deliverance from the evils of the world.
The Advent wreath symbolizes new and everlasting life brought through Jesus the Christ. The circle of the wreath reminds us of God Himself, His eternity and endless mercy, which has no beginning and no end. The green of the wreath speaks of the hope that we have in God, the hope of newness, of renewal, of eternal life. The candles symbolize the light of God coming into the world through the birth of His son. The four outer candles represent the period of waiting during the four Sundays of Advent, which symbolize the four centuries of waiting between the prophet Malachi and the birth of Christ.
The first candle is the candle of HOPE or Expectation which draws attention to the anticipation of the coming of the Anointed One, the Messiah, that weaves its way through the history of the Old Testament. The story of Hope comes to fruition in the New Testament with the birth of Christ and the redemption of our sins through His life. In the shadow of the cradle is the cross of redemption!