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One Candle for Advent Hope

Advent HopeWe lit one candle for Advent Hope last Sunday.

The Advent hope candle also is known as the prophecy candle which looks forward to Jesus’ birth.

But what is Advent?

The word is a shortened form of adventus Domini, meaning “the coming of the Lord.”

As a season in the liturgical church year (vestments are blue), it marks the anticipation of Christmas.

The anticipation is for three events.

  1. The celebration of Christ’s birth this year.
  2. His resurrection celebration in Easter next year.
  3. His promise to return–anytime.

Many people prepare an Advent wreath with evergreens and four candles that they light on the four Sundays of Advent, lighting all four candles to celebrate Christmas.

The first candle represents Advent hope.

Pastor Dennis Durham of St. Mark Lutheran Church, preached on hope last Sunday, noting several points about hope:

“Hope is mentioned 50 times in the New Testament–and all those verses are connected to God and the certainty we have in Him.”

Durham also observed that many people have a limited concept of what the word hope means.

In American English, hope is almost like a superstition, “I hope something will happen,” with a wistful expectation it may not.Advent Hope

“But Christian hope does not take its cue from circumstances,” Durham explained, citing Romans 5:5:

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

Christian hope is based on the Bible–the Word of God, and is an assurance or confidence that God is at work in our lives.

Hebrews 11:1 is the hallmark of faith:

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah 29:11 also spoke of hope in God:

 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Jesus was the answer to Jeremiah’s hope.

A Christian’s hope is grounded in trust God will not disappoint us and will keep his promises.

Advent hope celebrates the events of 2000 years ago when God spoke a word into Mary’s heart and brought to pass the salvation of the world.

Advent HopeCelebrating Advent

My family lights a candle on the Advent wreath each Sunday night in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

When the children were young, we opened a window on an Advent calendar (their favorite was always the one with chocolate behind the window).

I bring out several different versions each Christmas.

When I was a young military wife with small children, I picked up a few clever ideas from my friend Karen Whiting.

Karen has published a book this year called Christmas is Coming! But Waiting is Hard! filled with family activities and devotions for Advent.

I bought copies for my family members. You might enjoy her family’s celebration ideas, too.

In the  meantime, I wish you hope this Advent season.

Tweetables.

Advent hope and candles. What do they mean? Click to Tweet

What is Advent? Click to Tweet

Advent hope and family celebrations. Click to Tweet

 

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