Lenten Candles – The Color and the Significance
Lent candles have their own significance in the observance of Lent. The burning candles stands for the arrival of Christ as the illumination of the world. The shades of the candles can differ. Conventionally, three purple candles and one rose-colored or pink candle are used. The purple indicates that Lent is a period of regret as well as hope. Many churches use blue candles instead of purple ones to highlight the positive hope of the period. A candle is lit on the first Sunday of Lent with an additional one lit on every following Sunday. The blissfully colored pink candle is set aside for the third Sunday of Lent, Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete, which actually refers to "rejoice" in Latin, is the initial word of the Introit for that Sunday: Several Christians append an exact explanation to the four candles. The first candle, or the Prophet Candle, stands for the optimism and expectation of Christ's incarnication as forecasted at so many places in the Old Testament. The second candle recalls how Christ was born in modest style, in the trivial village of Bethlehem. Therefore this candle is often referred to as the Bethlehem Candle. The third candle is identified as the Shepherds' Candle. It brings to mind the joy of the shepherds when they left after having seen the Christ-child in the stable. The fourth candle is the Angels' Candle. It take us back to the blissful crowd that declared the good news of our Savior's birth.
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