Sadly, we are not able to meet in church to light the first Advent candle together. Recognising this, and that since many of us may still feel unable to attend church in the weeks leading up to Christmas, we will be posting a short prerecorded video of the Advent Candle being lit each week.
Advent is a time of reflection and penitence, in preparation for the great celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.
The candles are given different meanings in different traditions.
For many, the purple candles represent penitence, the pink candle represents hope, and the white candle (in the centre) represents the joy of new birth.
The interpretation given by the rubric in the Church of England’s Common Worship is as follows:
Advent 1: The Patriarchs
Advent 2: The Prophets
Advent 3: John the Baptist
Advent 4: The Virgin Mary
Christmas Day: The Lord Jesus Christ
Each of the four Sundays then reminds us of those who prepared for the coming of Christ. ‘The Patriarchs’ can naturally focus on Abraham, our father in faith, and David, the ancestor in whose city Jesus was born. ‘The Prophets’ gives an opportunity to reflect on the way the birth of the Messiah was ‘foretold’. John, who proclaimed the Saviour, and Mary, who bore him in her womb, complete the picture.
The prayers used at the lighting of each candle reflect these four themes.