Purple, green and red are the colors of the Christmas season. Each one reminds us of a different aspect of the celebration.
“Purple?” you may ask. Yes, purple is the color of Advent, the preparation time prior to Christmas. The advent wreath candles are purple; the priest wears purple vestments at Mass. It is also a penitential color, signifying the opportunity we have to properly prepare for Christ’s coming. While the Church does not require us to fast or abstain from meat, voluntarily making such sacrifices along with others, could help us in our preparation.
The Church does remind us of the need to prepare with the words of the prophets Isaiah and John the Baptist, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” (Mark 1:3). In order to receive the Lord, we need to smooth out the bumps and hills that sin causes in our lives. A thoughtful and heartfelt confession will also prepare us for the upcoming celebration.
Green, the color in the boughs of the advent wreath, signifies our hope for a new beginning. The evergreen trees we decorate, ones that stay green even when other trees go bare and slip into winter hibernation, remind us that God is the source of our life. We should not despair when we sin, but rather acknowledge our transgressions and ask God’s forgiveness, so that we can be renewed in our life in Christ. Green in the season is the hope for eternal life with God.
The red berries nestled in the green holly leaves are the color that reminds us that God became man and shed His blood to offer Himself in reparation for the sins of mankind. But first, He was conceived in the womb of Mary and was born nine months later, just like the rest of us. This is the miracle that we celebrate at Christmas. Assuming human nature, He lived as one of us moment-by-moment, day-by-day. He understands what it means to be human and shows us the path to a relationship with God.
Therefore, when we see the colors of the season, let them be a reminder that we are preparing the way for someone. Let that someone be Jesus coming into our hearts and lives.