Three Purple, One Pink

Light the fire of hope, peace, joy, and love this Advent season!


Advent wreath with fully lit candles

Macy Vance, Copy Editor

Happy New Year! Sunday, November 27, 2022, marked the start of the new liturgical year. What better way to start the new church year than Advent!

Advent is a four-week-long liturgical season leading up to the Christmas season. This is a time of preparation for the coming of the Son of God made flesh. We are also celebrating the promise of new life given to us, and that we can be reborn in faith again with Jesus. Advent stems from the Latin word adventus, which literally translates to “arrival” or “coming”. This season of purple is a time for Catholics everywhere to prepare our hearts to enter into the manger scene with joy and a clean heart.

Each Sunday, another candle is lit in the order of purple, purple, pink, and purple. All the candles have a new and unique meaning, and they are often places on a wreath. The wreath itself is meant to be composed of various boughs of evergreens and fraser firs. The laurel  symbolizes victory over suffering, for champions were often awarded laurel wreaths upon them winning. Pine and yew represents immortality for they are some of the few plants that thrive during the cold winter months. Cedar is placed in the wreath as a reminder of our strength and healing, and holly’s prickly leaves remind us of Christ’s crown He bore in His Passion. Holly is a reminder of the purpose of Christ’s coming, to save us from sin.

The four candles on top of the symbolic wreath bear their own meanings in the following order: hope, peace, joy, and love. The first candle can also be called the Prophecy Candle, remembering the prophets and their eager anticipation for the Messiah to come. The second candle representing peace is dubbed the Bethlehem Candle, honoring the journey of Mary and Joseph to the town of Bethlehem where Jesus was born.

Advent wreath and devotional book from Blessed is She.

Week three of Advent is the special pink week, or as the priest call it, “rose”. This candle called the Shepard’s Candle embodies the joy of the world when the infant Jesus came, and also represents the joy of Catholics as we hit the half-way point of the Advent season. The last week is symbolized through another purple candle called the Angel’s Candle, embracing the virtue of love as Love Himself is soon to enter into the world.

Some Advent wreaths include a white candle at the center, lit on Christmas Eve. This candle embodies Christ Himself, so the white color meaning purity is very fitting for the Son of God. He should be the center of our lives, so the candle is centered in the middle of the wreath. Christ truly lives out all of these four virtues, and the humble flame atop this white candle is the sign of Jesus being the light of the world. Each of these candles reminder us of a new principle that we as Catholics should emulate daily, and they are guides to how we are meant to align our heart this season of preparation.

Unlike Lent, Catholics are not encouraged to give something up, but instead be more intentional with their prayer lives. Where Lent is a sorrowful time of sacrifice, Advent is an eager time of celebration. Besides lighting candles, how can you truly enter into this liturgical season?

Outside the Immaculate Heart chapel at Saint Thomas Aquinas, you might have noticed a tiny Christmas tree. That is STA’s Jesse tree, and each day of Advent, a new ornament with a Biblical symbol is added. The ornaments should tell the story of the Bible from the beginning, symbolizing the whole heritage of Christ, a descendant of Jesse. You can create your own Jesse tree at home, or you can spiritually reflect on Christ’s coming.

There are many daily Advent reflections available in books and online, and they all encourage deeper prayer and intentionality. This is a great time to return to the sacrament of reconciliation and be reborn in faith with the birth of Christ. Attend holy hours of adoration as well to enjoy the presence of the Lord before Christmas comes.

While stores are already decked out in green and red, remember what the fun, festive holiday truly means. Christmas is a time to celebrate, and Advent is a holy invitation to rejoice in the greatest gift of all, Jesus Christ. Your parents and friends might be good gift-givers, but I promise you that God is the best giver of all. Don’t forget to receive your heavenly blessing too this merry Christmas.