As a Christian tradition, the wreath holds the four Advent candles. The candles represent Jesus coming as the light in darkness. One candle is lit each Sunday until all four candles are lit. As Christmas draws nearer, each candle brings a little more light into the darkness. Sometimes, a white candle is lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day to symbolize that Jesus is with us. This can be referred to as the “Christ candle.”

Each of the candles lit before Christmas represents an aspect of preparation during the season of Advent.

The Church celebrates a new year on the first Sunday of Advent, celebrating the end of the liturgical year the previous Sunday with the solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (more commonly known as the Feast of Christ the King). This Solemnity celebrates the omnipotence and transcendence of God throughout history. The Church then enters this season of Advent, a period of active waiting and anticipation for Christmas and celebrating the Lord’s Incarnation. Much of the structure and content of the Advent liturgies guide the faithful to understand the preparations God the Father took for the Incarnation.
Week 1 : HOPE Light the first Purple Candle

In Advent, we hope for the normal spiritual graces, but we also hope for Christ’s coming at Christmas and at the second coming. We enter into the past like our Jewish ancestors who await the coming of the Messiah. We, as Christians, await the Messiah’s arrival at Christmas. But knowing the end of Christ’s earthy life and what is promised in eternal life, we pray for the strength and the grace to live upright lives in the hope of the Second coming and the resurrection of the dead: Christ’s ultimate and promised victory. As the Catechism explains: “When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior’s first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming.”

Week 2 : FAITH. Light the second Purple Candle

The Second Week of Advent is focused on the virtue of faith. Faith is another integral aspect of the Christian life that directs our thoughts and actions to ourselves, others, and God. Our faith in God informs how we live in right-relationship with Him and those around us. As explained in the Letter to the Hebrews, “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for andevidence of things not seen. Because of it the ancients were well attested. By faith we understand that the universe was orderedby the word of God, so that what is visible came into being through the invisible” (Hebrews 11:1-3)

Week 3:  JOY Light the Pink Candle

The Third Week of Advent begins with Gaudete (Joyful) Sunday, and this week is focused on the joy of the Christian life. Since Advent is a penitential season, akin to a “mini” Lent, the Church celebrates a day of joy and hope as we draw closer to the end of Advent and the arrival of Christmas, the Nativity of Our Lord. The most noticeable shift in the liturgy on Gaudete Sunday is the use of rose-colored vestments, which are only used on a handful of feast days or Solemnities. Gaudete Sunday celebrates the joy we as Christians feel as we contemplate the hope of the Savior with the gift of Christ’s Incarnation. The first two weeks of  Advent centered on hope and love must be seen and understood in order to realize the full depth of the third week of Advent and Gaudete Sunday. Our joy results from both our hope in the Lord and our love for him.

Week 4:  PEACE Light All Four Candles
The fourth and final week of Advent is focused on the virtue of peace. The peace talked about in this final week of Advent relates to Jesus’ title as the Prince of Peace who ushers in a new way of existence. Peace in the spiritual life relates to both the inner peace we receive from God through grace and the sacraments as well as the peace that will come to the world at the second coming. An integral aspect of contemplating peace in Advent is how we receive Christ’s peace in our own lives.
The Catechism explains: “By this power of the Spirit, God’schildren can bear much fruit. He who has grafted us on to the true vine will make us bear ‘the fruit of the Spirit: . . .love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.‘ ‘We live by theSpirit’; the more we renounce ourselves, the more we ‘walk by the Spirit.’ Through the Holy Spirit we are restored toparadise, led back to the Kingdom of heaven, and adoptedas children, given confidence to call God ‘Father’ and toshare in Christ’s grace, called children of light and given a share in eternal glory”(CCC 736).