Loving people with the heart of Christ in the heart of Wabash.

Philippians 2:3-5

Watch for Signs of Hope

Advent is a season of waiting, expecting, hoping. Beginning four Sundays prior to Christmas, Advent concludes in quiet subdued celebration on Christmas Eve. Advent helps us prepare for the coming, or “advent,” of the Christ child at Christmas.

But why participate in something that doesn’t seem to match the commercial enthusiasm of the holiday season? Why enter into the watchful anticipation of Advent?

I think it’s because we’re called to be people who pay attention, looking for glimpses of where God’s presence is at hand. Something as simple as a brief devotional reading and the lighting of the candles of the advent wreath at the dinner table or in the sanctuary can be a great way to remain attentive.

For hundreds of years, Christians have used an Advent wreath to inspire their hopes for the coming child. By lighting candles and reading Bible verses, we are reminded about the meaning of Christ’s birth and become more excited about his coming in the past, in the future, and in the present of our lives.

There is no set meaning for the candles of the Advent wreath (except for the middle candle, which always signifies the birth of Jesus, often called the Christ candle). I’ve been in churches where the candles point to peace, hope, joy, and love. In other settings they are identified with key figures in the stories of the birth of Jesus: the shepherds, angels, Joseph, and Mary.

The colors of the Advent wreaths vary, as well. Some candles are all white; others use three purple, one pink, and one white. For many Christians, the purple candles signify the serious and solemn wait God’s people have endured waiting for the Messiah. Pink signifies the joy of our waiting. The white is triumphant and celebrative because Christ is born.

The Advent wreath is also a great tradition to introduce to our children. Kids have great expectations during this season—usually associated with Christmas presents, Santa Claus, holiday celebrations, and so forth. Rather than discourage these, why not help them get the “feel” of Advent by connecting these biblical hopes.

Let’s let the light of our hope shine out this year. Come, Lord Jesus.

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