We continue our celebration and preparation as Jennifer Wake walks us through the lighting of the four Advent. This wee she shares the meaning of the Joy candle.
The Joy Candle
by Jennifer Wake
This statement will bring everyone to the windows in my home. We all love to see the snow falling and hope it will stay around for a few days. Shouts of glee always accompany the first snowfall. Later, in January or February, sadness and gloom may replace this joy. But in the weeks leading up to Christmas, snow brings the anticipation of a white Christmas; everything covered in a blanket of soft crisp snow. The early snowfalls mean playing and making snow angels or snowmen.
After Christmas, snow falls mean work, shoveling, clearing off vehicles and general thoughts of “when will winter end.” For my family, snow loses its magic after Christmas. The beauty of these heavenly crystals did not change, but how we perceive them changed. Before Christmas, we focus on Christ, after Christmas we long for spring.
During the first two weeks of advent, people often fast and repent.
Then, they break the fast on the third week with The Joy Candle. It is a time of reflection and of fasting, followed by a time of joy and looking forward. A spirit of hope, faith, joy, and love marks Advent.
The rose/pink candle is the Joy Candle, or the Shepherd’s candle, because it symbolizes the great joy which is coming. The Joy of the birth and ultimately the resurrection!!!! We celebrate with gladness the great promise in Advent.
As we anticipate the coming of both the incarnation and the return of the King, we also look to our Good Shepherd to lead us.
Shepherds were out in the field tending their sheep, unconcerned by the census which brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem. They were taking care of their sheep, defending them, making sure they were safe and protected.
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
The Shepherds left their task and then returned to tell others about the earth-shaking event. They were different because of what they experienced. They listened to angels and obeyed them. Seeing Jesus in the manger changed them. Just as the third candle is different from the other candles, so were the shepherds different from other shepherds. This candle’s color is usually rose or pink which symbolize Joy. Just as the angel said, “I bring you good news of great joy”, we are to rejoice because our God is near.
This candle is filled with anticipation and longing for Christ’s return. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who will come again to bring us home with great joy.
As you spend this week preparing for Christ’s return here are some Scriptures to read every day.
Hymns to sing with your family:
While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks
Away in the Manger
Joy to the World
If you missed it, you can find the introduction to Advent here, the first candle of hope, and the second candle of faith.