Monday’s Reflections | October 24, 2016
A couple of wonderments for this week. Keep them coming. I learn as well when I wonder with you.
Question: A thought popped in my head this week…how did the Bible come to be called the Bible?
Response: I love these thoughts! Here is what I found:
The word Bible comes from the Koine Greek word ta biblia or “the books” because the Bible contains 66 books. It is literally ta (the)biblia (books) and sometimes called in the plural, biblias or biblios. Strictly speaking then, the Bible is called the Bible because it is a collection of books and these books are inspired by God.
Question: Coming into the Advent season, why do some churches use all purple candles, and others purple & pink and others multiple colors?
Response: First, a little history on the Advent wreath in which I am assuming the candles you are referring to are held. The precise origin of the Advent wreath is obscure. Its roots are most likely in pagan practices surrounding the keeping of winter the winter solstice. As days got shorter and darker the addition of lights indoors symbolized the longing for the returning of the sun. The current use of the Advent wreath first developed in the homes of Germany where candles were lit as part of the personal and family devotion time in the weeks leading up to Christmas. This ritual was then brought into the church as part of liturgical practices. This became sort of the church’s clock that marks the passage of weeks during the season in which the church is most conscious of the passage of time as it awaits the coming of the Savior.
Okay, now to your specific question. The attachment of names and colors to the candles is a quite recent addition and for some obscure the power of the symbol. Purple candles are used by some congregations because this is the color of the Advent season in their denomination. (In the ELCA church the color that marks this season of the church year was changed to blue to distinguish between Advent and Lent which is marked by the color purple.) The colors and names given to the candles can have rich meanings but the meanings will change depending on who you talk to and what the leader of the congregation has chosen to do with them. So I guess that is the short answer to your question. There is no long standing tradition or “laws” followed by all for Advent candles. So individual leaders and congregations have the freedom to do with them what works for each individual context.