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The pink candle was the third candle to be lit (not the fourth) on Gaudete Sunday, the Third Sunday of Advent. This ancient act is a gesture of repentance and a powerful reminder about the meaning of the day.
Ashes can symbolize dust-to-dustness and remind worshipers of the need for cleansing, scrubbing and purifying.
After Advent comes Christmas, which is about his birth; then Epiphany, about his miracles and ministry; then Lent, about his Calvary-bound mission; then Easter, about his resurrection and the sending of the apostles; and then Ascension (40 days after Easter) and Pentecost, with the sending of the Holy Spirit.
The first half of the church year (approximately December through June) highlights the of Christ. That's "the church year in a nutshell," and it should help reveal how Advent fits into "the big picture." Advent specifically focuses on Christ's "coming," but Christ's coming manifests itself among us in three ways — past, present, and future.
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