12/24/2011 08:53 am ET | Updated Dec 24, 2011

Christmas Lights: On Christmas Eve, Candles Burn Bright (PHOTOS)

Candlelight Christmas

Lighting candles on Christmas Eve, also known as "Heilige Nacht," (Holy Night) is an ancient Christmas tradition. Typically, a big white candle is kept lit the entire night of Christmas Eve, signifying Christ, who is understood to be the "light of the world" (John 8:12, 9:5). In many churches throughout the world, people gather together on Christmas Eve in joyful anticipation of Christmas and participate in a special candlelight service with festive music, carols and scripture readings. Other popular traditions on Christmas Eve including gathering for Midnight Mass, nativity plays and Christmas vespers.