To discover the story of the pink candle, we first have to look at the origins of the season and the wreath. Until Advent was instituted toward the end of the fifth century, the only season Christians observed was Lent. As preparation for Christmas, the Church established Advent in the spirit of Lent–as a season of reflection and penance.
The custom of the Advent wreath originated with pre-Christian Germanic peoples whose evergreen wreaths and fires signified hope in the darkness of December. Christians maintained the tradition and by the 16th century German Catholics and Protestants used the wreath to symbolize hope for Christ’s coming. The practice spread through the Christian world.
The liturgical color for Advent is purple, symbolizing our preparation for the coming of Christ. The violet color of the purple candles on the Advent wreath reflects this symbolism and serve as reminders of the prayer and penance of this season.
But on the Joy Sunday of Advent, the pink candle on the Advent wreath is lit. Long before pink became a symbol of breast cancer awareness, it took prominence for this week of Advent as a sign of joy. “Gaudete” (meaning “rejoice”) Sunday marks a significant point on our Advent journey. Paul’s letter to the Philippians encapsulates the joy that marks our faith in God’s eternal love and mercy. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4). The pink Advent candle represents the joy of anticipation for Christmas and is lit on Gaudete or Rejoice Sunday. The rose color of this Joy candle reminds us that the joyous feast of Christmas is near.
Here’s our Advent Call to Worship for this coming Sunday:
Joy is the space between your breath and your laughter.
Joy is dancing in the kitchen and singing in your car.
Joy is that first day of a new season,
and the intoxicating hope it brings.
Joy is the first cry of a newborn baby.
So today, we light the candle of Joy
as a prayer, a protest, and a reminder
that darkness and misery will not win.
Love will win! God is love… God is near!
Patient God, we plant our feet in joy…
we wait for the courage to laugh in the face of disaster,
to trust that your gift of renewal is always available to us,
even when we cannot feel it.
We are reminded that you are our Everlasting God,
who pierces the darkness of this world and reaches into the brokenness of our lives, granting the promise of a new tomorrow.
Join us Sunday at 10am MT inside our sanctuary (with masks) or find us online on Facebook for our live-stream worship service. Our Bible reading is Luke 2:6-7; 16-19 and you can download our worship details here, which is basically an expanded version of our worship bulletin–helpful for those who live-stream our worship.
With Health & Wholeness,