Today is the third Sunday of Advent and the focus is Joy.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The
Lord is near.
– Philippians 4:4-5
Why is the third candle in the Advent Wreath traditionally pink?
When the Christian Church was in the earliest years, the season of Advent was not observed, only the season of Lent leading up to Easter and the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ. Lent is a season of fasting and prayer. Traditional colors during this time were deep purple which signify royalty, repentance and suffering. But on the third Sunday of Lent the church was encouraged not to fast, but to feast and celebrate, signifying the hope of Christ. In the earliest of times the Pope would present a pink rose to a citizen and over the years pink became the color of the vestments for priests on this Sunday. When the Church adopted the season of Advent, the third candle was pink to honor the tradition of Lent.
But the candles were also named in anticipation of the coming of Christ. The first candle was Hope, the second Peace, the third Joy, and the four Love.
Some traditions refer to this as the Shepherd Candle as the angels sang a message of Joy to the Shepherds.
…and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger,
because there was no guest room available for them.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An
angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were
terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great
joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah,
the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to
Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
– Luke 2:7-15
And, a prayer for the season: