We are in the second week of Advent now, and one of the most notable symbols of Advent is the Advent Wreath. Below are just a few of the symbols or meanings of different parts of the Advent Wreath:
The 4 candles = 4 Sundays in Advent
Purple = preparation
ROSE (not pink) is used on the 3rd Sunday of Advent; Gaudete or Rejoice Sunday; We rejoice because the gift of Jesus at Christmas is almost here and we are half-way in our Advent preparation.
Evergreen leaves = eternal life
Prickly leaves = the crown of thorns
Circle = no beginning and no end, the eternity of God and the everlasting life we receive through Jesus
Light = the light of Jesus; We are called to reflect the light of Jesus to the world
It is the prickly leaves that catch my attention the most during this second week of Advent. Why during such a time of joyful hope and expectation would we consider the crown of thorns?
Even while we are getting ready for the birth of Jesus, we are reminded that he came to suffer and die for us. We are reminded that it is not always easy to do God’s Will.
It is precisely during the times of doubt (as Joseph must have faced) and the sincerity of our faith is put to the question (as was Mary's) and when the whole world stands against us (as against Jesus) that God is preparing to do His best stuff!
I'm not always the best at embracing hardships, difficulties, and struggles. So I know that is one thing that I am being called to reflect upon and pray about this Advent.