Advent is the period of 4 Sundays before Christmas in the church year. Each week in Advent has a theme and a candle is lit each Sunday to mark the weeks till Christmas. The first week’s theme is hope. This Advent the topics of waiting and hoping are on my mind. I’m waiting for family strife to be resolved. Hoping that I stay healthy this coming holiday season. Hoping I can see my grand-daughter for Christmas. Waiting for clarity in my writing life. What are you waiting for? What are you hoping for this holiday season?
Perhaps these four weeks before Christmas can give us some perspective on our waiting and hoping seasons. The Israelites went through a 400 year period when they didn’t hear from God. Then Jesus was born in obscurity, and few knew who he was until he started his public ministry at the age of 33. Yet they kept waiting for the Messiah to come.
Imagine waiting over 400 hundred years for something to happen. The Bible reminds us hope won’t disappoint us:
“And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” From The Letter To The Romans Chapter 5 verse 5.
My Favorite Advent Song
There are so many authors and song writers who inspire me with their work, that for the period of Advent, I will be sharing them with you.
The following hymn, “Oh, Come, Oh come Emmanuel” is sung every Sunday in Lutheran and Catholic churches during the four weeks before Christmas. It’s a song of longing for Jesus’ arrival. Hearing this song instantly takes me back to my childhood days of impatiently waiting for Christmas Eve. Nowadays, it also reminds me that one day Jesus will return to make everything right in this world. I find myself longing for his return lately.
#1. According to an article by Crosswalk, “Twinkling lights and candles everywhere remind us that Jesus is the light of the world that came to dispel the darkness. That theme of light is what originally gave birth to the Advent wreath hundreds of years ago in Lutheran Germany, and it’s become a beloved tradition in many churches and homes. The Advent Wreath is typically an evergreen wreath containing five candles, each lit on successive Sundays during the Advent readings. Some variations of the Advent wreath include different colors to correspond to different themes, while others keep the candles a simple white.”
#2. Since the theme of the first Sunday in Advent is Hope, the following scripture is often read before lighting the first Advent candle.
Isaiah 9:2, 6-7:
“The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned. […]
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.”
Advent Wreaths and Displays
If you are inspired to put together your own Advent wreath, here are directions. I would love to see a picture of yours. This year I’m using LED candles in mine, because real candles make me cough.
I pray you have hope this week.
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Till next time, Kathy