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Light . . . the flickering light of a candle . . . reminiscent of calm, peaceful nights. Quiet and still, candle light evokes the feelings and security and warmth and for as long as there has been Christmas, there has been candle light.

The use of candles predates Christmas as we know it. The festivals of Saturnalia, the Persian Yule and Winter Solstice all used candles, and specifically tapers, to celebrate the victory of light over darkness. As Christianity spread candles came to be associated with Christmas as well. When celebrating Christmas, candles symbolize the Star that appeared at the birth of the Christ-child and which came to rest over Bethlehem. Tall candles attached to the tops of trees and set in important places in a home represented the star. Candles also represented Christ himself and often tall candles in red or white representing Christ were put into the centre of a laurel wreaths. These candles would burn all night on Christmas Eve to welcome His birth and the rebirth of light.

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As the years past, candles also became associated with the journey that Joseph and Mary took as they traveled to Bethlehem to be included in the census. Candles were very likely used to light their way then and today in some homes candles are still placed in window sills to “light the way” on Christmas Eve.

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The Advent wreath also used candles to signify Christ and the Sundays counting down to Christmas. One of three purple candles were lit each of the four Sundays before Christmas excepting the third Sunday on which day a pink candle was lit instead. The purple signified penance of the church and pink candle signified joy. On the day of Christmas the while candle in the middle of the wreath is lit representing the purity of Christ.

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Candles represent Christ as the light of the world and the light to the world. Wherever Christ is taken, His light permeates the darkness and the darkness is no more. His light shines in darkness and darkness cannot overcome it. (John 1.5) Light, in the context of the Christmas season, is meant to be shared. Those who have entered into the light now become the lights in the dark world (Php 2.15)

 

Let your light Shine

so all may see your Good Works

and Glorify the Father.

Mt 5.16

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Taylor, Ben. Shedding Light on Tradition: The Christmas Candle. http://www.swide.com/art-culture/the-meaning-of-candles-at-christmas-and-throughout-history/2014/11/10 2014-11-10 (Web)
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/22613429@N00/33589870″>Flame and Flower</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/84277352@N00/488000887″>side candles 2</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/56296023@N06/11505169153″>Advent Wreath</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/86978670@N07/11553305925″>Wreath</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/30885355@N00/3339690067″>Tea light (6/365)</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

 

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