I’ll just say it – the Advent Wreath has always bothered me. It’s not symmetric. I like things to be even and organized (not that you’d know it by looking at my house), and the Advent Wreath has three purple candles and one pink one. That’s always bothered me. Why couldn’t it have two of each color? Or why couldn’t it have them all be the same color?
As I’ve gotten older and learned more about the theology behind it, I understand why there are three purple candles and one pink one. But I still don’t like looking at it. It looks very imbalanced. Today is the Third Sunday of Advent, the day we light the pink candle, and when I was at Mass I noticed that someone had lit them in the wrong order. They had lit one purple, then the pink one, and then another purple. The pink candle is supposed to be lit the third week of Advent, so it should be third in order, but the way it was lit at my church, it looked like the pink one was supposed to be lit second. At first I enjoyed the fact that it looked symmetrical. At least the pink one was in the middle of two purple ones, and the unlit purple one was opposite the pink one. But then I realized that maybe the Advent wreath isn’t supposed to be symmetric and balanced. Maybe there is a reason behind the asymmetry of the Advent Wreath, something more than what we’ve learned as we have grown in our faith. Maybe it’s deliberately supposed to be uneven and keep us uncomfortable to symbolize the fact that we are living in a disordered world.
And when does the Advent Wreath become ordered? On Christmas, the pink and purple candles can be replaced with white candles. The world is ordered when Christ is born. Not completely ordered yet, because we are still living in a fallen world, but more ordered than it was before. It’s the beginning of bringing order to our disordered, sinful, fallen world. May our eyes be opened to see the beauty in what God is doing in our world every day.
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