Tuesday, December 05, 2006

advent light

So, in an odd side-bar comment during our staff meeting today, I became intrigued with how the pink candle got to be in our Advent wreaths. (And, I have to say, my curiosity was encouraged by the RevGalPals Friday Five contest last week, to give a new reason for the odd pink candle. I didn't post, but my best idea, I think, was that it stands as a sort of "minority report," insisting that we don't all think/look/believe the same. There's no expectation that the lone pink candle will become purple, but it still has a clear place in the wreath. But I digress...)

From a bit of internet searching, I found 2 possibilities intriguing:

-The whole Advent wreath thing has its roots in pre-Christian (read: pagan) Germany. A getting-ready-of-the-solstice ritual of lighting more candles, to get us through this darkness until that day when the night will begin to grow shorter.

-The pink color probably snuck in through Lent and the Pope. Several sites claim this. Apparently, purple went with Lent before it went with Advent (back in the day, when Lent was the only real liturgical "season." And, during that long season of penitence, folks still wanted to remember that even the suffering of crucifixion isn't horrible. (After all, it led to resurrection!) So, on the third (or fourth) Sunday, folks were supposed to give up the fast for a day of feasting. And, the Pope would give a rose to a citizen on that day. The rose inspired priests to start wearing pink. Then, when purple was applied to Advent (which used to have a lot more penitenece and considerably less shopping), the pink came along, too, on Sunday 3.

Now, we just get the joy (without too much penitence). But as far as I've experienced, we don't get so much feasting during Lent...

In other advent news, I've been thinking about the lights on trees in the middle of El Cajon Boulevard near our house. Someone too the care to wrap the lower limbs of a whole bunch of trees in strings of white lights. Trouble is, at least 3/4 of the bulbs are not working. Which makes the effort my current favorite Advent display. Finally, someone got it right--just a few twinkling lights, holding out what may seem like futile hope that God will come to the world and it will mean everything.


karen said...

I still wonder whether YOU should preach on Sunday. You've got a lot of good life going on this week that I know would weave into a great proclamation.

molly said...

Hey, I'm just getting ready for pink Sunday NEXT week... ;)

I'm looking forward to your proclamation, and am holding you in prayer.

revbrent said...

I've heard the rose candle explained using the papal history as well-it's a good story.

I love having the John the Baptist readings in Advent (especially the 3rd Sunday when he calls everyone snakes!) b/c it remains one of the graces whereby we can't too easily skip to a simple Christmas without repentance. John the Baptist slows us down...makes us examine ourselves and our economics. He forces us to really prepare for the coming of Christ.

Molly, can you guys make it on the 15th?

RevErikaG said...

I also heard that the rose candle is connected to Mary....Lawrence Stookey in one of my fave books from seminary, "Calendar" says, the Advent wreath is "totally nonliturgical." (p. 126). He goes onto say, "it had been the practice among Catholics to use rose (mistakenly called "pink") on Gaudete Sunday as a visual signal that the intense solemnity of the "violet Sundays" eased off for this occasion." (p127) he goes onto to say that Protestants picked it up and most have no clue why! So we should fast the other three and ease up when we see the rose color candle! How about that????

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