The season of Advent has started, but what does that mean? For a long time I thought it was another commercialized countdown calendar that included gifts. The first time I was introduced to the tradition of the candles was as a young adult. As the candles were being lit and their meanings defined, I finally understood the Advent season.
The first candle is the Candle of Hope or the Prophecy Candle. In the Old Testament, prophets tell of the coming Messiah through virgin birth. Their message of this coming Messiah gave the people the same hope that we have today knowing that Jesus will return one day.
The Candle of Peace is second, also known as the Bethlehem Candle. This candle reminds us of the journey Joseph and Mary took to Bethlehem from Nazareth before Mary gave birth to Jesus, thus fulfilling the prophecies of the Old Testament.
The third candle is the Candle of Joy or the Shepherds Candle. When the angel came to the shepherds in the fields, he told them the joyous news of the Savior's birth. We, too, hold that same joy in our hearts and should be sharing it with the world.
The Love Candle, or the Angels Candle, is the fourth to be lit. The angels came as messengers to share the coming of the ultimate love story. God has loved you from the beginning of time and that love is given through the gift of Jesus.
This leads us to our final candle, the Christ Candle. In the center of your candle setting sits a pure white candle representing Jesus. Without Jesus' birth the rest of these candles mean nothing. If Jesus hadn't lived a perfect life and died a sinner's death, the gift salvation would not have existed. God knew from the beginning that we would need hope, peace, joy, and love; so He gave us Jesus, the most perfect gift of all.