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What's up with the pink candle?

The kids of our congregation are very observant. When they come for worship, they make note if anything has changed in the sanctuary. So, of course, Advent has all kinds of fodder for conversation. And the most common question is, Why is there one pink candle? I reckon the kids aren't the only ones who've wondered this. 

Here's the scoop.


Advent's Halftime

When the season of Advent first emerged around 500 A.D., it had a penitential character not unlike Lent. When the liturgical color for Advent was violet this connection between that two seasons was all the more apparent. 

The focus for Advent was as much (or more) on Christ's second coming as His first—and our preparation for that coming. Thus, Christians would fast and make other sacrifices; again, this is akin to our "giving something up" for Lent.

The 3rd Sunday in Advent is more or less the midpoint of the season; since the beginning of Advent moves from year-to-year, the actual midpoint varies. As such, the 3rd Sunday was regarded as a kind of "halftime."

We've turned the corner toward Christmas. For a day, fasts were lifted, and the spirt of joy suffused the worship—sort of a foretaste of the joy to come. 

The Rejoicing Sunday

Not coincidentally, the traditional name for the Sunday is "Gaudete," a Latin word meaning "Rejoice!" Like other Sundays in Advent, Lent, and Easter, Gaudete takes its name from the first word of the Introit in the liturgy; in this case, "Rejoice in the Lord!" (Philippians 4.4).

Traditionally, the Introit (which means "entrance") was the beginning of the service, and hence this was the first word heard in worship.

And thus we have the pink (technically "rose") colored candle. The touch of rose, like a flower in winter, hints at the full future blossom. But it also calls to mind the Christmas hymn, "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming." This side of Jesus' resurrection, even in the midst of the dark seasons, everything is coming up roses.

Sunday's sermon

In Sunday's Gospel (Matthew 3.1-12), we heard John the Baptist announce his famous first words: "Repent! For the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" For us modern Americans, the biblical idea of "kingdom" can be hard to understand. What did this mean for John's hearers, and why does it matter for just today?

Listen to Sunday's sermon

News & Notes

  • What a success! The benefit dinner for the Shoults-Sullivan family was held on Tuesday evening, and more than 150 people came out on a chilly Arcadia evening. All told, we raised over $7,000! If you would still like to donate it's not too late. Send a check to church (P.O. Box 139, Arcadia 49613), with an indication in the memo line that it's for the family. 
  • The whole event couldn't have happened without a whole lot of helpers. Sue Stoops coordinated butchers, bakers, and maybe even a few candlestick makers. Thank you everyone who pitched in. You can see some pictures here
  • This weekend is the Sunday School Advent Program. It will happen as part of worship. Following the service, we'll have a potluck to celebrate the kids and enjoy some fellowship. See you then!

From the Church Year

This Friday, December 13th, the Church Year commemorates St. Lucy, martyr. From the Treasury of Daily Prayer:

"One of the victims of the great persecution under the Roman emperor Diocletian, Lucia met her death at Syracuse on the island of Sicily in the year A.D. 304, because of her Christian faith. Known for her charity, Santa Lucia (as she is called in Italy) gave away her dowry and remained a virgin until her execution by the sword. The name Lucia means light, and, because of that, festivals of light commemorating her became popular throughout Europe, especially in the Scandinavian countries. There her feast day corresponds with the time of year when there is the least amount of daylight. In artistic expression she is often portrayed in a white baptismal gown, wearing a wreath of candles on her head."

"I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me."

– Acts 26.17-18

Looking ahead to Sunday

The 3rd Sunday in Advent
  • Readings
    • Old Testament lesson—Isaiah 35.1-10
    • Epistle lesson—James 5.7-11
    • Gospel—Matthew 11.2-15
  • Hymn of the Day—"Hark the Glad Sound" (LSB 349)

+ Blessed Advent +

Pastor Tinetti

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