Advent is a time of preparation. It is the four weeks leading up to Christmas and the anticipation of the coming of Jesus into the world. Candles are used to symbolize this journey.
The first candle is the Prophecy or Hope candle. Typically a purple candle, it is in remembrance of the prophets, especially Isaiah, foretelling the birth of Christ. It represents hope for the world.
The second candle is the Bethlehem or Peace candle. Also typically purple and is a reminder of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. The focus is peace on earth and faith in a Messiah.
The third candle is the Shepherd or Joy candle. Traditionally pink as rose is a liturgical color for joy. It is meant to represent the journey of Advent and the joy in the birth of Jesus.
The fourth candle, again purple, is the Angel or Love candle. It marks the final week of prayer and preparation for the birth of our Savior. It reminds us of the message of the angels, “Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward All.”
The white candle is called the Christ candle and is lit on Christmas Eve. This candle represents the life of Christ. The color white is for purity and bringing in the light of the world.
I’ve always liked Advent. Honestly, I think we do a better job of preparing for a holiday than we do preparing for Advent. Our busy-ness is in gift finding and cookie baking and scurrying and celebrating. Our focus seems more on Santa than on a savior.
But in the midst we are given candles. Candles that bring warmth and light.
Each December we send a small bonus to our teachers and staff that work for our ministry in Haiti through LaGonave Alive. In total, we pay and therefore give bonuses to 12 people. Dr. William contacted me and said, because things are very difficult there right now, could they pool their bonuses and share these funds with 50 people? Light in the darkness.
Just found my sign this year of HOPE and PEACE and JOY and LOVE.