Sunday, December 02, 2007

Light in the darkness

Sanctuary candles
Originally uploaded by goforchris.
The season of Advent begins tomorrow - though the date of this post shows Sunday has already begun. Despite the sudden outbreak of premature Christmas lights, trees and garlands everywhere from the cafe in East Enders to the seafront in Largs to the shore road in Dunoon, this is a special time of waiting in the dark of winter for the light of the Incarnation. This photo was taken today in the Cathedral of The Isles, Cumbrae, a special place with its own vision of hope, where we were rehearsing for tomorrow's Advent Carol Service.

It is not only through music that I shall be marking the season, though goodness knows there will be plenty of that. Do visit the new blog, love blooms bright, where a group of bloggers will be contributing their own reflections on a daily basis from Monday. This is the brain-child of Kimberly, and it promises well.

And for those who are bamboozled by the colours of the candles in our Advent wreath, you can find an explanation here


  1. Still in the dark about the candles. :-) The link given just asserts that these are the traditional colours but does not offer a reason why.

  2. Anonymous10:20 AM

    The colour of Advent Candles fits within the pattern of liturgical colours more generally. Purple has been the dominant colour for both Advent and Lent since at least the middle ages (though if one can afford it, they should be different shades). In Advent, themes are about preparing for Christ's coming. Purple is seen as both a solemn, penitential colour (preparing for judgement) and the colour of royalty (preparing for Christ the King).

    If the church is in purple, it makes sense for the candles to be purple too.

    The pink candle is lit on the third Sunday of Advent, called 'Gaudete Sunday' because the traditional opening for the day is 'Rejoice (Gaudete) in the Lord always...' It marks a lifting of Advent Solemnity in joyful anticipation of the Christ. (vestments change to pink this day too, if you are in a church lucky enough to have rose coloured vestments)

    Now, you might just let all candles be white.

    Or you can go with the seasonal purple and pink, so that on Christmas eve you can light the white Christ candle (colour of purity) at the eucharist.

    Long response. Hope that helps.

  3. So... we're pink and jolly on the third Sunday in Advent but back to being purple and solemn on the fourth? Of course! It all makes sense now. Those middle ages folk clearly knew what they were doing. :-)

  4. Thanks for spelling it out, Kimberly - we'll just ignore the cheeky boy in the corner ;-)

  5. "the cheeky boy in the corner"

    Eh! What? Here I am, genuinely interested in expanding my knowledge of all things Episcopalian and I'm accused of being cheeky!

    What's comforting is the that clearly the Episcopal church and Presbyterian church are not that far apart after all... We both do things for the best reason of all - because that's the way it's aye been done!