Advent is the period of four Sundays and weeks before Christmas. Advent means 'Coming' in Latin. We use this period of time to prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus into the world. This year begins on Sunday, December 2nd and ends on Sunday, December 23rd.
During Advent, we traditionally light special Advent candles, as symbols of our preparation for Christ's coming. Every Sunday, we light one of four candles, each symbolizing one of the Sundays in Advent. The fifth candle is lit on Christmas Eve.
The candles come in three colors: purple, pink and white. The purple candles symbolize repentance. The pink candle symbolizes joy. The central candle is called the Christ candle and is not lit until Christmas day.
When we light the candle it is customary to read a few verses of scripture that relate to the meaning of the candle. Often the person who lights the candle recites a short statement of belief and faith as the candle is lit and then everyone unites in prayer.
The First Candle (The Candle of Prophecy/Hope)
The first candle is sometimes called the candle of prophecy because it symbolizes the promises the prophets delivered as messages from God; promises that foretold Christ’s birth. Others consider the candle to be a symbol of the hope we have in Christ and so it is called the Hope candle.
The Second Candle (The Candle of the Way)
The second candle shows that Christ is the Way. Christians are lost in sin and Christ is the Light sent into the world to show them the way out of darkness.
The Third Candle (The Candle of Joy)
The third candle indicates that the only lasting Joy to be found in life on earth is through Christ. All other joy is fleeting and does not last.
The Fourth Candle (The Candle of Peace)
The fourth candle reminds that Jesus comes to bring Peace to both the world and to people’s hearts. Without Christ, there is no peace in this world.
The Fifth Candle (The Christ Candle or Christmas Candle)
The fifth candle represents Christ himself who is born to save people from their sins. It is a celebration of the fulfillment of prophecy as represented in Christ’s birth and the hope for the final fulfillment when Christ comes again and all Christians join him.
The Greening of the Church
Preparing the church for the coming of the Christmas Season.