Each week beginning on the
fourth Sunday before Christmas an additional candle is lighted. On the first
Sunday one candle is lighted. On the second two and so on until all four are
lighted the Sunday before Christmas. If there is a pink candle it is usually
the third candle. If there is a white candle in the center it is lighted on
Christmas Eve and all through the 12 days of Christmas. This progression of
light represents the coming of the light into the world.
The circle of the evergreen
wreath represents eternal life. The evergreen remains green representing life
and the circle is eternal with no beginning and no end.
There are various traditions about the
meaning of each of the candles. One tradition labels them the Prophet's candle,
candle, the Shepherd's candle(pink), and the Angel's candle. These represent
the sources of the Good News of the coming of Jesus. The Good news came through
the prophets, was born in Bethlehem,
was witnessed by the shepherds and proclaimed by hosts of Angels. Another set
of traditions label them hope, love, joy (pink), and peace or some variation on
this. This tradition focuses on the nature of the Good News. It is news of hope
for the future, the love of God, joy of the Spirit and peace on Earth.