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Sunday the clergy would wear pink vestments. So, making the Advent candle the color of that day made sense. After some time, this particular Sunday was moved up one week to the third Sunday of Advent. Today, the pope no longer gives out roses, but the rose colored candle remains.

The purple candles match the liturgical color of Advent. To make a break from Roman Catholicism, some churches use only purple candles. Churches may also use all white candles which is the liturgical color of Christmas. Still others use all blue candles. Blue is used in place of purple to help separate the Advent season from the season of Lent, which also uses purple. Blue symbolizes hope.

The wreath is made of various evergreen branches to symbolize the eternity of God. The wreath was initially hung from the ceiling but over time it was moved to a table/altar.

Before each candle is lit during Advent, a certain prayer is said. The first candle lit is a purple candle which represents the hope of Jesus’ coming. The second candle lit is also purple. The second candle symbolizes peace. The third candle lit is the pink/rose candle. This candle symbolizes joy and is a different color because it is on this Sunday (Gaudete Sunday) that a break is given and no fasting required. The fourth candle is a purple candle which symbolizes the love of God. At times, there is a large, white candle in the center of the wreath that is lit on Christmas eve.



For the first three centuries of Christianity, there was no official celebration of Jesus’ birth. If there was a celebration at all, it would have probably been on January 6, which was the celebration
of Epiphany, when the message of the birth of the Messiah was given to the wise men.

Some early church fathers, such as Origen, did not want Jesus’ birth to be celebrated like the Roman emperor’s; but their voice was in the minority. Early church documents bring to light many different suggested dates. “Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-c. 215) favored May 20 but noted that others had argued for April 18, April 19, and May 28. Hippolytus (c. 170-c. 236) championed January 2. November 17, November 20, and March 25 all had backers as well. A Latin treatise written around 243 pegged March 21, because that was believed to be the date on which God created the sun. Polycarp (c. 69-c. 155) had followed the same line of reasoning to conclude that Christ’s birth and baptism most likely occurred on Wednesday, because the sun was created on the fourth day.”1

The connection between the creation of the sun and the birth of Jesus, the true Son, cannot be denied. Along this line of thinking Elesha Coffman says, “December 25 already hosted two other related festivals: natalis solis invicti (the Roman “birth of the unconquered sun”), and the birthday of Mithras, the

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© 2016 By Doug Gray. All Rights Reserved.