The Light of Hope
‘Tis the season! I am so happy to embrace all the joy this season brings, and I hope you’ll join me in celebrating this most special time of year, the birth of our King, Jesus Christ!
Starting off the Christmas season, I’d like to reflect on the significance of Advent and the special meaning of this tradition. The meaning of Advent is special in and of itself. It is defined as the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event; the first season of the Christian church year, leading up to Christmas and including the four preceding Sundays; the coming or second coming of Christ.
Advent is a momentous time leading up to Christmas. The four weeks of Advent represent the four hundred years of silence between the writings of the prophets in the Old Testament and the coming of Christ. Many churches use this time to remember the longing of God’s people for the coming of the Messiah, the birth of Jesus, and the hope of His return.
A beautiful tradition to celebrate Advent is the lighting of the candles on the Advent wreath. The four candles symbolize hope, love, joy, and peace. Some denominations consider the fourth candle to mean purity, and most use a fifth candle, called the Christ candle, that is lit on Christmas to remind Christians of the light Jesus brings to the world.
This week, we will focus on the theme of Hope and what it truly means to live in light of the hope of Jesus Christ, our Messiah.
Is there hope to be found?
Sometimes, I think it’s easy to lose sight of hope, certainly in the current state of affairs. The noise and daily struggles can be exhausting for anyone. Whether it’s family situations, jobs, finances, health, or injustices committed around the world and in our communities, it can be hard to hold on to the idea that there is anything for which to hope. We just can’t fathom how God will show up and pull us through. And as we lose hope, we become weak and weary.
The people of Israel in the Old Testament period felt much the same way. At times they felt utterly hopeless. Time and time again, they faced defeat. They struggled. They found themselves removed from their land and their homes. They were defeated by their enemies. It was a daily struggle. Prophets would rise up and call them to repentance, proclaiming a future of hope and restoration. But again, they would fall back into their disobedience and fail to follow God. They were walking in darkness.
Then came four centuries of utter silence. No more words of hope. No more word from God.
Then the silence broke with the cry of a newborn baby boy. Jesus, Immanuel. God in the flesh.
Hope has come!
Now, today, we wait in anticipation for His return. And like the people of Israel, we long for His restoration. We long for renewal. But the difference between the people of Israel and us, we know that the silence has been broken. Hope has come. And hope will return.
So, what do we do in the meantime?
Friends, our reason for waiting expectantly is to live in the light of the hope we have in Christ. Isaiah 2:5 ESV says, “O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.”
What does it mean to “walk in the light”?
Walking in the light is to live our lives in a way that honors God. It means fleeing sin and pursuing righteousness. It is about being a “new creation” and leaving the old person behind in favor of following Christ. And we do this because we have the hope of salvation, the hope of the Cross, and the hope that Jesus will come again to make all things new.
“Those who walked in the dark have seen a bright light. And it shines upon everyone who lives in the land of darkest shadows.” Isaiah 9:2 CEV
I truly hope and pray you are walking in the light and embracing all that God has for you today. I also hope you’ll join me this month as we fully embrace this beautiful season. Let’s not get distracted by the busyness and noise. Let us open our hearts and meditate on God’s promises. Let us continue to hope in our Lord, Jesus Christ.
I encourage you to fill your heart and mind with Christ this season. Below, I’ve shared some ways you can invite the hope of Christ into your life this first week of Advent. I’ll be praying for Christ to meet your every need as you, beautiful friend, place your hope in Him. And if there is anything I can do for you, please reach out. I will pray for you, offer encouragement, and listen as you share what’s on your heart. So, my friend, if you are in need, please reach out. And always remember – YOU are not alone.
Read Isaiah 2:1-5. Dwell on the words of Isaiah and the promise of hope for future restoration. Spend time reflecting on what it truly means to “walk in the light of the Lord.”
Commit to a day (or more) of silence and reflection. Spend time reading scripture and reflecting upon God’s Word. Consider the longings of the people of Israel during the centuries of silence. Ask God to quiet your mind so you can hear His voice. As you surrender yourself to Him, seek His desire for you during this season of Advent. Where is God calling you?
Share the significance of Advent. How can you spread hope to those around you? What can you do to share the light of hope with others this special time of year?
When Hope Came Down
So this is how it was
A silent night like any other,
When heaven sent the one,
The one we will call our savior,
And redemption begins,
Keep on Shining!