Photo credit (above): Ian Dalgleish, Glasgow.
The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.
At 48, this is my first year properly celebrating Advent.
Advent wasn’t ever part of our family or church traditions. And the reason? “It’s not mentioned in the Bible.” (Literally true). “It’s just a Roman Christian tradition.” (Also, partly true); “Lighting candles doesn’t mean anything to God.” (Hmm, not quite sure I agree with that one.)
I’m choosing to celebrate Advent because the sentiment of Advent is a very biblical one – looking forward to the second coming of Jesus, and reminding ourselves of His first coming.
HOPE in this first week of Advent.
HOPE in Jesus (Lord, Saviour, Priest, coming King); Holy Spirit (Comforter and Guide); Heavenly Father ( Sustainer, Provider, Shelter) – for me, for my family, for my community, for the wider world. There is no better place for my hope.
HOPE means I’m cast down but not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4,9)
HOPE encourages me that although many people in the world are persecuted they are not abandoned (2 Corinthians 4, 9)
HOPE lifts my head when I’m weary and fixes my thoughts when I’m anxious.
HOPE doesn’t fall into my lap at this time of year, even if I’m choosing to celebrate Advent. Hope is a gift from God, the end result of patience and endurance in life’s suffering and trials.(Romans 5) I think I’m slowly getting there.
If life (and Christmas) is more about managing troubles than peace and joy for you then, then maybe you are closer to the true celebration of Advent than most.
And so, I light this first Advent candle (symbol of hope) as a silent ‘thank you’ to God in my heart; as a prayer for all the situations where God’s hope is so desperately needed in our world; as a reminder of the need for Christians everywhere to bring God’s hope into the lives of others’ this Christmas and deep in my spirit I say “Come Lord Jesus”.