Once Thanksgiving has come and gone, our culture moves on quickly to the celebration of the Christmas season. All around us, there will be an explosion of Christmas reds and greens, holly and evergreen, ornaments and wreaths. However, you might notice that your parish is colored a different way.
Rather than reds and greens, the altar is draped in a deep violet, the priests wear violet vestments, and our wreaths have candles of that same violet and a lovely rose.
Why does the Church abstain from the colors of Christmas until the 24th? And why do these seemingly random shades of violet and rose take their place?
It is because violet and rose are the liturgical colors of Advent. As a preparatory season, Advent does not yet share in the joy of Christmas. Rather, it anticipates it through penance and the practice of patient waiting.
Violet is the liturgical color that symbolizes penance, sacrifice, and prayer, and as such, it characterizes both Advent and Lent. Moreover, during Advent, we meditate particularly on the coming of our King at Christmas. In this way, the color violet—traditionally associated with royalty—takes on a dual meaning, representing both the penitential nature of the season and the kingship of the coming Christ.
The Third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete (“Rejoice”) Sunday. On this day, we celebrate that our wait is almost over and we witness the sudden introduction of a lovely shade of rose in our churches and our Advent wreath. As the liturgical color used to signify joy, rose is used in the third week of Advent in anticipation of the coming of the Messiah.
These colors of the Advent season are not arbitrary—rather, they are intentional reminders of how we should orient our hearts as we prepare for the coming Christ. While it is fine to join in the festivity around us, we must keep our hearts aligned with the Church during this season, joining in the hopeful and penitential anticipation of our coming Savior.
This Advent Blessings St. Benedict Medal Bracelet was created to help you do just that. Beautifully adorned with violet and rose beads, this bracelet is a perfect reminder to pray for an increase of hope, love, joy, and peace in Christ during Advent. Order yours today from The Catholic Company and receive it in time for Advent!