First Sunday Of Advent: Candle of Hope
Hope is the light at the end of the tunnel, it is an anchor in the unseen. The first day of Advent celebrates the words of the prophets who pointed to Christ, and this candle of hope is sometimes known as the candle of prophecy for that reason.
We need words of hope and expectation. The human soul seems to wither without this uplifting force within. Thankfully, it seems to arise without our own efforts, and the Bible says it is formed from character that comes from the crucible of suffering.
We Can Be Thankful DespiteÂ Hard Circumstances
The idea of a “silver lining” in the clouds of difficulty comes from looking for the good that comes from enduring through hard times. The Jewish people were suffering under their conquerorsÂ when Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem for purpose of being taxed.
We are glad now, in hearing the Christmas story, because we know the good news that the prophets foretold and the angels of heaven proclaimed. We know that this was the entry of Jesus into the world and the accomplishment of our salvation from sin and death.
Whatsoever Things Are of Good Report
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things areÂ lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there beÂ any praise, think on these things.
Hearing stories about how deliveranceÂ comes out of troubled times gives us hope. Each story of a hero, or a life saved, or a happy ending adds to our own Â ability to be braver, to hold out when we want to give up, to be encouraged.
We all root for a happy ending, because that builds our hopes.
The Hope of Heaven
Not every story has a happy ending, however, and that is why our anchor in the promises of God gives us the power to endure earthly disappointments. It is an everlasting hope.
We begin with good expectation on this Sunday as we light the first candle in the darkness of winter.
- The light begins by shedding only a small pool, alone in the dark. So seems our own glimmer of hope, at times.
- As the days move toward Christmas, our lights will grow, day by day, adding to each other in the same way our thoughts of faith and thankfulness willÂ build a fire of strength and warmth within our souls.
- Allow the preparations of Advent to add joy and good thoughts, day by day.
Carol: Loves Pure Light / Gloria in Excelsis Deo
Today we are so thankful for the gift of hopefulness. We pray that it increases in our souls and that we be given opportunities to spread it in the world. Open our eyes to how we may give hope to someone else this week, through encouragement and kindness, just as you daily give to us.
Let us share light in the lives of others.
We thank you in the name of your Son, Jesus.