As we were away last week I am late with getting our Advent Candles out and in use. Today though I set them up on the table. I bought the bowl with the candle holders a few years ago now and use it some years for our advent candles and sometimes I make other arrangements. This year I decided that the bowl was the right thing.
In our tradition, which is the Church of England - Anglican - the Advent Wreath traditionally has four red or blue candles in a ring around a white or gold candle. However, we use the candles that you see here. This reflects the time that I first started to light Advent Candles when I attended an Episcopal Church in America, however, these candles are also used by the Church Of England. The three purple candles reflect the liturgical colour of Advent. The pink candle is for the third Sunday of Advent when rose pink vestments are traditionally worn. This Sunday is called Rose Sunday or Gaudete Sunday. The white candle is lit on Christmas Day.
The first purple candle is lit on the first Sunday of Advent and additional ones are lit each Sunday afterwards - with the pink one on the third Sunday of course.
There are several traditions which reflect the meaning of the different candles. The Common Worship Principle Lectionary defines them as:-
First Sunday - The Patriarchs
Second Sunday - The Prophets
Third Sunday - John the Baptist
Fourth Sunday - The Virgin Mary
Christmas Day - Jesus Christ
We will light our candles each Sunday and say a prayer as we light them. It is good to just take a little moment to think of others and to count our blessings.
Lighting the candles for me also connects me to the Church and to other Church families that I have known in the past. It is a moment for reflection and the reminder of what is to come. Advent after all is a season of preparation for Christmas, it isn't Christmas itself. At least that is what I feel.
We do also indulge in a small daily amount of chocolate in our advent calendars as well!
I hope that you are finding joy and comfort in your own Advent preparations.