Advent candles traditions

What is the right way to light the Advent candles?

Since the Bible is silent on a matter like this, “right” or “wrong” becomes very subjective. What I can point you to are long-standing customs and traditions that have developed over the years. What you will notice is that there is variety among those customs.

The first candle is known as the prophecy candle or hope candle or expectation candle. The second candle is called the Bethlehem candle or the peace candle or the preparation candle. The third candle has acquired the titles of the shepherds’ candle or the joy candle. The fourth candle has become known as the angel candle or the love candle.

Three of the four candles are usually blue or purple, and one is pink or rose. Traditionally, since the pink/rose candle is lit on the third Sunday of Advent, the blue/purple candle opposite it is lit on the first Sunday of Advent.

Use of a white Christ candle in the center of the wreath varies by local custom.

With all this variety available, it is helpful for churches to offer to worshipers an explanation of their particular usage of an Advent wreath and candles.