The Meanings of the Advent Candles

(December 2, 2012  By )

“Why are there so many different themes attached to each of the the four Advent Candles (purple and pink)? A survey of websites and books on Advent surface a number of options.

Advent-2012Here’s just are some examples:

Promise, Light, Love, Hope

Hope, Peace, Joy, Love

Prophecy, Bethlehem, Shepherd, Angel

Hope, Preparation, Joy, Love

Prophecy, Way, Joy, Peace

Expectation,  John the Baptist, Mary, Magi

Waiting for the Shepherd, Waiting for Forgiveness, Waiting for Joy, Waiting for the Son”

(and from the Comments:

“You don’t mention the one common in England: Patriarchs, Prophets, John the Baptist, Holy family. These are seen as ‘concentric circles’ of testimony and anticipation.”)

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One Response to The Meanings of the Advent Candles

  1. Rev22:17 says:

    Joel,

    You asked: Why are there so many different themes attached to each of the the four Advent Candles (purple and pink)? A survey of websites and books on Advent surface a number of options.

    In the Catholic tradition, there are no “themes” whatsoever officially attached to the Advent candles. They simply represent the four Sundays of the liturgical season of Advent and thus mark the progress through the season. And in fact, there is no requirement for any Catholic church to have an Advent wreath or to light the candles therein, though many elect to do so.

    Properly, the new candle for each week should be lit at vespers (“evening prayer”) on Saturday evening (“First Vespers” of the respective Sunday), which marks the beginning of the celebration of Sunday. It has become fairly common for parishes here in the States, and perhaps elsewhere, to have some sort of blessing and lighting of the new candle at the start of each Sunday mass during the Advent season, but this practice really is not proper. Note, also, that a “mass of anticipation” or “vigil mass” for Sunday that’s celebrated on Saturday afternoon or evening properly should not occur until after vespers, though, again, there are many parishes that do not adhere to this.

    Norm.

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