Advent is a season where most Christian denominations observe a time where they expectantly wait and prepare for the both the celebration of the Nativity (birth) of Jesus at Christmas and the return of Christ at his second coming.

Advent reminds Christians of the sacred meaning of Christmas. Despite the secular preparations taking place, buying presents, parties, etc. Advent reminds Christians to remember and prepare for the birth of Jesus.

Our articles over the next four weeks (Advent is celebrated for the four Sundays leading up to Christmas) will touch on the four traditional themes of the advent season.

Each of these is signified in the church weekly by lighting a candle, these candles burn bright for all to see and remind us the reason we celebrate the season.

First Candle: the candle of hope. This is to remind God’s people of the light shining to us in Christ.

Second Candle: the candle of peace. This is a theme presented to us throughout God’s word, from the Old Testament prophets, to the voices of the disciples following Jesus.

Third Candle: the candle of love. God is love and Jesus so embodies that to us in his messages.

Fourth Candle: the candle of joy. Joy that is found is the arms of his mother Mary and reminds us all of the joy that is found in our lives by living daily with Christ as our guide.

And in many churches there is even a fifth candle: The Christ candle that is lit on or very near to Christmas to remind us all of the light that Jesus brings into our life.

Hope: a feeling of expectation and a desire for a certain thing to happen. A feeling of trust. In your life what are some of the things you hope for?

Well, as a Lay Pastor I talk to folks at times who are sick, and I can tell you their hope a that moment in life is to be well. In fact there’s a phrase that says, in life when you are well there are a 1,000 things you hope for, but when you are sick, there is only one thing you hope for, and that is to be well.

Hope gives you something to look forward to, and don’t we all in our lives need something at times to look forward to, which I dare say will in turn offer happiness to you.

When you plan a vacation think about all the things you hope for, good weather, safe travels, fun with your family. These things likely lead to a happy time away on vacation with your family.

My wish for you this advent season is that you allow your hope in Christ to strengthen you daily.

Just this past Sunday our pastor offered an analogy to our lives that I had never heard before.

He told a story how in New York City one can go down to 5th avenue and see the statue of the strong man, holding over his head the world.

He reminded us how the strong man appears to be struggling to carry the weight of the world over his head, which, is similar to our lives.

If we are walking around carry so many burdens we too will feel the weakness in our knees from such weight.

He then said, that across the street from this statue in a church parish, is a statue of Jesus as a young boy, and in the palm of his hand, he is comfortably holding the world. I shared in the definition of hope above that it is a feeling of trust….so, in whom do we want to place our hope and trust, in the strong man, whose burden seems heavy, or in the young child who’s literally holding the world in his hands. I so hope your hope is found in a strong relationship with God and his Son, Jesus Christ.

I’ll close by offering you words of encouragement from God himself; do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord our God goes with you; he will never leave your, nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6.

Let those words and the love of his son (who’s holding the world in his hands), lift you with tremendous hope this advent season, for we all are truly blessed through hope. Until next week.

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