The Bethlehem Candle

On the second Sunday of Advent the second candle of five is lit. In many churches, this is considered the Bethlehem candle. We remember that long before Jesus Christ was born, the humble town of Bethlehem was promised to be the birthplace of a great king–in fact, the King of Kings.

“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.” Micah 5:2

All you need to start your own family’s celebration is five candles (some people do four). It’s really that simple. How you arrange the candles or decorate them is entirely up to you. Our family’s advent “wreath” has changed over the years but has always been some kind of grouping of the five candles, usually in a circle. Before kids, we used tapers but later with toddlers around votive candles seemed a MUCH better idea.

After years of having the candles in circle formation, I found a darling candle holder at a shop which has five votive holders in line formation which takes up less table space. This year I have flameless candles, which I like because I can “burn” them all evening.

So the basic idea is to light one candle on each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas Day. On the first Sunday you would have one candle burning. The second Sunday two of the five would be burning and so forth. The fifth candle is for Christmas Eve, which we like to light after Christmas Eve service. In the days after Christmas, it is fun to have all five burning at the same time.

You may notice that many candles especially marketed for Advent are purple and pink. Those colors originated in order to match the vestments of Roman Catholic priests during the weeks leading up to Christmas. Don’t stress about the color, though. The main thing is to remember different parts of the Christmas story as the day approaches.

Hopefully, your church will have a list of Advent Scripture readings that you can refer to as the days go by.

Did you miss a week? Or even more? Don’t worry. Just grab some candles and go!


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