What Is The Christ Candle?


https://anglicancompass.com/wp-admin/edit.phpThe “Christ Candle” is the large white candle in the middle of an Advent wreath.

Picture of an Advent wreath with a Christ Candle in the middle

On the four Sundays of Advent, you’ll see the Advent wreath at the Anglican Church. Around it will be four candles, either purple or blue (and sometimes one is pink!). And in the center is a large white candle. That’s the Christ Candle.


Each Sunday of Advent a new candle is lighted to mark time. This, together with the four Advent Collects, reminds us to repent as we prepare for the coming of Christ.

Then, on Christmas Eve the Christ Candle is lighted along with all four Advent candles.

The Meaning of the Christ Candle

The Christ Candle represents the light that the Son brought into the world when he was born a little baby, God in the flesh. This was the very light of God, come into the world:

In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:4-5).

The fact that the Advent candles remain on Christmas Eve puts the focus on this special moment of birth, the moment of transition from prophecy to fulfillment. This can be compared to John the Baptist, who was not the light himself, but bore witness to the light:

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light (John 1:6-8).

On Christmas Day and the Christmas Sundays, the Advent candles are usually removed, but the Christ Candle remains. This reminds us that old things have passed away, all has been made new, and Christ gives his light to everyone:

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world (John 1:9).

There is always at least one Sunday after Christmas, often there are two. It depends on which day of the week Christmas falls on (long boring story). The Epiphany follows on January 6th. Many churches burn the Christ candle through Epiphany, the Feast of Light on January 6th. This is especially appropriate because it reminds us of the star that the Wise Men followed.

The Christ Candle fills a similar function as the Paschal Candle at Easter. It represents the work of Christ to us, our light in the darkness through his birth, life, death, and resurrection.

The Christ Candle At Home

You can practice this tradition at home with your family. In our family, we light the Advent candles each week, and on Christmas Eve we light the Christ Candle and pray the Christmas Eve prayers. Then we light the Christ candle each night during the Twelve Days of Christmas.

This reminds us to keep Christ in our hearts:

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6).

And it reminds us to walk in the light with each other:

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:5-7).

May the light of Christ fill you with joy and peace!

Published on

December 24, 2017


The Anglican Pastor

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