Lighting the Candle of Hope {Meditations on the First Sunday of Advent}

Lighting the Candle of Hope {Meditations on the First Sunday of Advent}

In a world spinning with busy, I find calm in simple traditions that bring pause …breath …hush …wonder.  The season of Advent — those precious weeks leading up to the day we celebrate the arrival of the Savior …the One we’ve been longing for …waiting for …hoping for.

Taking this time to stop, reflect and remember brings stillness and calm to the frenzy all around.  Advent means “arrival” …”coming.”  There’s a sense of anticipation and expectation in the air.  Can you feel it?  Do you embrace the excitement in the waiting?

If this season has already started off with what I call “the burden of the bundles”–shopping, traveling, preparation, etc. — take a minute to sit still.  Feel the warmth and the Light of God’s presence as you read these verses below.  Allow yourself permission to stop.  Remember.  Re-focus.  Hope.  Anticipate the soon arrival of the newborn baby — Jesus.

Consider creating  a simple Advent wreath and lighting a single candle each Sunday of Advent.  Gather the family around and read verses related to each week’s theme or spend your own personal quiet time in a moment of stillness as if waking up early to eagerly await the promised arrival of the one you love.  Joy in the anticipation. Hope in the waiting.

“The first candle symbolizes hope and is called the “Prophet’s Candle.” The prophets of the Old Testament, especially Isaiah, waited in hope for the Messiah’s arrival.” (from –“Advent Wreath & Candles: Understanding the Meaning, History & Tradition”)

Notice the light all around you.  Appreciate it’s beauty and reflection from the windows.  Enjoy the warmth of the light of the sun and the night-light of the moon.

Jesus came to bring LIGHT into our dark places …our emotional pain and sadness …our physical pain and suffering …our overwhelmed schedules and situations …our sin and shame.

The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
    a light has dawned.

Isaiah 9:2 (NIV)

Let His Light wash over you and bring joy into your heart today and let that carry you through this first week of Advent.  For now, try to remember this one thing …hope.  This week is all about HOPE.  The prophecy is being fulfilled.  There is hope!  We don’t have to live in darkness.  Joy comes in the morning light! (see Psalm 30:5 NLT)

“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.” (Romans 5:5 NLT)

Take one Scripture a day from this post and meditate on it.  Let the thoughts marinate in your soul.  Look for ways during the day that verse might be revealed more fully through your every day activity and experiences.  Is the Holy Spirit  shedding light into your journey in some way?  Does a name come to mind that you need to respond to with forgiveness or kindness? Is there a burden or yoke you’ve been carrying that you need to lay down so that your time of waiting doesn’t become a heavy weight?

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.”

From Isaiah 58 (NIV)

 And again, Isaiah says,

“The Root of Jesse will spring up,
    one who will arise to rule over the nations;
    in him the Gentiles will hope.”

 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 15:12-13 (NIV)

Can you see the Light?  Watch for it.  Join others in the waiting room.  The Savior is arriving soon.

“We wait in hope for the Lord;
    he is our help and our shield.
 In him our hearts rejoice,
    for we trust in his holy name.
 May your unfailing love be with us, Lord,
    even as we put our hope in you.”

from Psalm 33 (NIV)

Meditate on one Scripture passage a day through this first week of Advent.  Let the anticipation of the Savior’s arrival build in your heart as you prepare Him room.

Simple reflections …savoring the moment.  Journal the journey …

Starting Monday …

Day 1:  Isaiah 9:2

Day 2:  Psalm 30:5

Day 3:  Romans 5:5

Day 4:  Isaiah 58

Day 5:  Romans 15:12-13

Day 6: Psalm 33


Joy Waters Martin

My kids tease me sometimes that my definition of a situation going well is often described as, "It was 'life-giving' " -- meaning, it may have had some conflicts or uneasy moments or stress but all in all , something about it breathed life into the situation and the people involved...something of the heart was moved in a good direction. I'm all about LIFE ... life with my husband, life with 4 adult children, their spouses and 8 grandchildren (to date, that is :), life in our home and life in a wild adventure we tend to label "ministry". In reality , all of these categories mesh together to make up the "organic me". Relational , redeeming and restoring are some of my favorite words and they give life to my soul as I walk it all out with Jesus Christ, the Giver of all life. Profile Photo by: Melody Martin

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