Today was the first Sunday of Advent. For the last few years I haven't thought much about the significance of these weeks leading up to Christmas. I guess growing up in the church it just seemed like we did the same thing every year and I lost some of the significance of it all. But last night when the first Advent candle was lit, something stuck with me.
That's what this candle was all about.
Something our world needs.
Something we hold onto tightly in many of life's circumstances.
The expectant desire of something. In this case, the expectation of the coming Messiah. Today, we know that Jesus came and all that He did on our behalf to reconcile us to God. But, I've been thinking a bit about how it would have felt to be an Israelite waiting for the Messiah to come.
Prophets had predicted His coming. Yet, in all these years of waiting, the Messiah had yet to come. The Messiah was their hope. And they had hoped for years without seeing the Messiah come. Proverbs says that hope deferred makes the heart sick. If I had been an Israelite then, I think I may have had a hard time holding on to hope for all that time. I would have gotten discouraged and begun to doubt if what the prophets had predicted was really going to happen.
And so to day was the first Sunday Advent and the candle of hope was lit. Hope. We all have it at times. And I would say we all need it in our lives. Without hope life can get depressing. But, when our hope never comes to fruition it can be demoralizing. But, we have to hold onto hope. In many ways it keeps us moving forward.