Friday, December 7, 2007


Some churches have a tradition of lighting Advent candles. Like a lot of traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation the ritual has lost most of its meaning. Most use this as a time to countdown to Christmas.

There are four Sundays in December prior to Christmas so usually four candles are used. A fifth candle is used sometime to designate either Christmas or Christmas Eve. Some people use blue candles. Most use purple candles to show the worth and value of Jesus since from ancient days purple was a color that signified worth. Many will notice that the third candle in sequence is usually a pink colored candle. The tradition of the pink candle is even more difficult to pin down.

Some think it was developed because a priest in the Roman church offered a rose on the third Sunday. Most now consider it as the candle of joy because of the anticipation of the advent is over the halfway point.

I debated whether to use Advent Candles at LABC. Can there be any meaningful value in this ritual? A pastor that uses an Advent Wreath offered me the following advice.

“I have used an advent wreath for 25 years in the church I serve. It has been a positive way to remind people of the importance of Christ's first advent or coming. Each year the 5 candles can have different meanings but they allow the church as a whole to review some aspect of Christ in a traditional way. This year we are reviewing the lineage of Jesus. The first candle is Abraham, then Isaac, Jacob, Judah and then on Christmas Eve Jesus. An appropriate scripture explaining the person is given. This event allows different people to partake in worship and think all week about the theme they are to represent.” L. Miller

Based on the aforementioned pastor’s recommendation and from the research that I have done on this subject I think it would be meaningful to begin a tradition at LABC that includes the use of Advent Candles. This year our theme will be consistent with the series I am preaching on Sunday mornings, The Birth of the Sovereign Savior. Each candle will remind us of the central truth behind the Old Testament prophecy in Matthews narrative of the birth of Jesus.

1. Sinless Savior: The Incarnation
"“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”" (Matthew 1:23, NKJV)

2. Shepherd Savior: The Good Shepherd
"‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ ”" (Matthew 2:6, NKJV)

3. Sovereign Savior: The Providence of God
"and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”" (Matthew 2:15, NKJV)

4. Sorrowful Savior: The Consequence of Sin
"Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying: “A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted, Because they are no more.”" (Matthew 2:17-18, NKJV)

5. Submissive Savior: The Despised Messiah
"And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”" (Matthew 2:23, NKJV)

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