What Does The Pink One Mean?

I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people:

Luke 2:10

Every year it happens. Someone comes up and asks me, “what’s the purpose of the pink candle?” You know, the 3rd Advent candle? The 1st, 2nd, and 4th week candles are purple. So why pink on week 3?

Couldn’t tell you.

Every year I look it up, and every year I forget. This year I’m writing this devotion in the hopes that I’ll finally remember!

Here are some answers from that wise Christmas sage, Wikipedia:

Rose is the liturgical color for the Third Sunday of Advent… it is a pause in the penitential spirit of Advent. As such, the third candle, representing joy, is often a different color from the other three


Traditionally, the third Sunday of Advent is called “Gaudette Sunday”, meaning “rejoice.” The color for the day is rose, because rose is the color of joy. (Also from Wikipedia!)

It’s supposed to be a break in the “penitential spirit of Advent”. Umm…penitential spirit? Yep. We forget that Advent was created to be a counterpart to the penitence and contemplation of Lent. Yep, Advent is supposed to be a mini Lent!

Do you treat it that way? Yeah, me neither. I’m so desperate for joy this time of year that as far as I’m concerned the whole Advent wreath should be pink/rose/joy colored! No time to be penitent or contemplative. Heck, all of our Christmas Eve candles should be pink! Forget red and green, give me pink! Give me joy.

We aren’t exactly traditional in that way when it comes to our observance of Advent, huh? Since we seem to be joy seeking all month long, why keep devoting a special candle to it?

Actually, many churches don’t. No pink candle. No “Gaudette” Sunday. The joy is just assumed the whole season long. Your church or home-based advent wreath may have 4 purple candles or a pink one in the mix. Anymore, it’s pretty much the same either way.

For my churches? We typically put that pink one out just for tradition. Not that many of us remember why. So why not change the tradition? Instead of the Joy candle, let’s call it the Lent candle, and set aside that one day to be prayerful, even somber and reflective along our journey.

That’s not a bad idea! Could you devote even a single Sunday for a Lent-like observance of Advent? I wonder how that would effect our shopping, our partying, our worshipping? I think I’d remember if we started calling it the Lent candle.

In fact…

I’d be tinkled pink.

Have a great week,