Advent, from the Latin word adventus meaning arrival, is the 4-week period prior to Christmas. The four candles remind us that in the four weeks of Advent we are preparing for the coming of the Christ Child, who is the light of the world.
Each candle reminds us of the virtues Jesus brings us: Hope, Love, Joy and Peace.
There are numerous explanations of the four candles.
The first candle is the Prophecy Candle, or the Hope Candle. It reminds believers that God had promised throughout the Old Testament that he would send a Messiah, the Shepherd King, to save his people.
The second candle is called the Bethlehem candle, or the Peace Candle.
The third candle is sometimes called the shepherds’ candle or the joy candle.
The fourth candle is called the angel candle or the love candle.
The four candles remind us that in the four weeks of Advent we are preparing for the coming of the Christ Child, who is the light of the world. The wreath of evergreen could also help a person think of the victory and the new and everlasting life we have in Jesus. Blessings on your Advent preparation to welcome the King, our Savior Jesus.
The colors of the advent candles also vary. The oldest tradition had three purple candles, purple was the color of royalty and repentance. On the third Sunday in Advent the candle was pink. This candle that emphasized the joy of the shepherds as they heard the news. More recently, the four candles are often a deep blue color, reflecting the liturgical color of Advent that is quite common now. Blue is the color that reminds us of heaven and the expectation we have that Jesus is coming again. Blue is quite common in Lutheran churches since Lutheran Christians often emphasize the meaning of Advent as the season of coming.