NOVEMBER 29 – HOPE
We light the first candle, which symbolizes Hope. It is sometimes called the “Prophecy Candle” in remembrance of the prophets like Isaiah and John the Baptist, who foretold the coming of Christ.
Are you tired? Are you discouraged? After decades of exile, the people of Israel knew what it meant to be tired and discouraged. Exile is like quarantine, only worse. Instead of being locked in, they were locked out – locked out of their homes, their businesses, their country. Isaiah offers a word of hope for them and for us. And it’s not exactly what you might expect.
When have you felt tired or discouraged? When have you felt God’s power working in you? Where do you need God’s strength to soar, to run, to walk?
DECEMBER 6 – PEACE
We light the second candle, which symbolizes Peace. This candle, sometimes known as the “Angels’ Candle,” symbolizes Peace. It reminds us of the message the angels sang on the night of our Savior’s birth: “Peace on earth, and goodwill toward all people.”
The wilderness changes people. There is no place to hide and no way to survive on our own. It is the last place we want to be, but because we know who is to come, we can have peace. The Word of God came to John in the wilderness. John emerged from the wilderness. Jesus emerged from the wilderness, and by God’s grace, power and provision, we will emerge from the wilderness having drunk from the cool clear stream of life that flows from the river of God.
DECEMBER 13 – LOVE
We light the third candle of Advent. This candle, sometimes known as the “Bethlehem Candle,” typically represents Love. It reminds us of the immeasurable love God showed in sending us Jesus, which, like a candle shining in the dark, gave us the hope of salvation.
When Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leapt in the presence of the Christ child Mary was carrying. What makes your baby leap? What is it about the birth of Jesus that fills your soul with hope? Hope not just for yourself but for the whole world, the world that God loves? A hope and a love that made Mary sing for joy.
DECEMBER 20 – JOY
We light the fourth candle of Advent. This candle, sometimes called the “Shepherds’ Candle,” symbolizes Joy. It reminds us of the joy that all people, even the lowly shepherds, experienced at the birth of Jesus, as well as our own joy as we celebrate Christ’s birth.”
God’s great news of Christmas welcomes the faithful into God’s movement into the margins of life. How many of us want to have our stories connected with the larger stories of God?What if we get the opportunity every day, or several times a day, to be a part of God’s kingdom coming to earth?
Today we light the fourth and final candle of Advent. This candle, sometimes known as the “Bethlehem Candle,” typically represents Love. It reminds us of the immeasurable love God showed in sending us Jesus, which, like a candle shining in the dark, gave us the hope of salvation.