I need to consider the season of Advent in my life to slow me down and help me appreciate all that was involved in the first coming of Jesus and how we are to anticipate His second coming. It reminds me that God is faithful, and He fulfills prophecies and plans in His time.
Advent: week #1 – The Prophet’s Candle – “Hope”
This is a busy time of year for all of us. Christmas is in our thoughts, and we find ourselves involved in a rush of activities. Actually, however, we have not yet come to the season in the Christian Year that is known as Christmas. We are now observing the season of Advent.
Advent begins the fourth Sunday before the night celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ into this world. In the early Christian church, Advent was a time of repentance, fasting, and church attendance. People were trying to prepare themselves for Christmas – for receiving God’s gift of love – the promised Messiah.
Through the centuries customs of Advent have changed. However, Advent is still the season of preparation, the time when we open our hearts and minds to prepare ourselves for new experiences of the Spirit, and new understandings of what Christ’s coming means to our lives.
Advent is a season of joyous expectancy, of waiting, of preparation, and of hope. It is a season of singing, a season of prayer, a season of searching the Scriptures.
When we light the first Advent candle – the Prophets’ Candle – a candle of hope, we recall that hundreds of years before Jesus was born, prophets had been expecting and waiting and preparing for the Messiah to come.
Isaiah 9:6-7 – For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. NIV
Micah 5:2 NIV – “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
We need to use this season to prepare for Jesus’ second Advent – His second coming – also foretold in Scripture. Let us observe this season here and now. Let us join together in preparing to receive the Christ.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 – NLT – And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.
15 We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. 17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. 18 So encourage each other with these words.