By Lilly Lewin
This week we light the first candle in our Advent wreaths. The first candle is known as the HOPE candle or the PROPHET Candle depending upon what flavor of church you grew up in….
I am very grateful that HOPE is the first candle because I am in need of HOPE this week and this year.
HOPE for healing for friends who are hurting both physically and emotionally.
HOPE for our world that is broken and bleeding with wars and famine.
HOPE for refugees around the world who just want a safe place to live.
HOPE for those who are living in fear and want to build walls rather than bridges.
And I’m grateful for the HOPE that the Prophets gave the Children of Israel and give to each of us today!
Isaiah reminds us that The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
The Prophet Jeremiah reminds us
The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.” Jeremiah 33:14-16
What hope do you need today? What things give you hope?
What things help you have hope on dark days? A sunrise? A baby’s smile? A great cup of coffee in the morning? Make a List and refer to it often. Take time to find a bit of Hope each day.
How can you plan to see more Light this Advent, rather dwelling in the darkness? What adds LIGHT to your life? What can you do to bring LIGHT to your world, your family, your neighbors? Start by Lighting an actual candle.
What righteousness and justice would you like to see Jesus execute in your land, your life, your neighborhood? Set a timer on your phone and pray daily for a place or an area that needs the justice of Jesus and the healing of his righteousness. Find a globe ornament, add it to your tree to remind you to pray for places around the world that need justice, healing, and hope.
Here’s one of my favorite prayers to pray during Advent.
Calm us as we wait for the Gift of Jesus
Cleanse us to prepare the way for his arrival.
Help us to slow down and prepare our hearts.
Help us to wait and take time to be with you.
Teach us to contemplate the wonder of God with us.
Teach us to know the presence of your Spirit.
Teach us to bear the life of Jesus and live out his Kingdom.
Today and Always.
(adapted from Ray Simpson, Lindesfarne)
May we all feel the Hope of Jesus this Advent and may we all shine his Light and be bearers of Hope to our world.