Each night, as the shadows creep in, we light them. It is a new tradition for us, but one that I know will stick because the kids so eagerly anticipate it. We sit around them eating our dinner. We try to keep the littlest from blowing them out. Usually the house is quiet and still when I finally do blow them out. I often pause after I light them or stop to admire them when I come down the stairs. I breath a prayer when I put them out.
They are just candles, but it seems an act of faith to light them when their names are Hope, Preparation, Joy, and Love. Just before Advent began, a sweet little girl we know was diagnosed with a brain tumor. We know a family that needs a new home. Financial woes abound in everyone we know. Relationships are broken. The headlines are never good.
But it's Christmas. And the simple truth is that because it is, and because of Who it is all about, we can light the candle of Hope, knowing it is not in vain. We light the candle of Preparation and are reminded to do the one needful thing this time of year- sit alongside the shepherds and animals and worship the long-since-born King. We can light the candle of Joy and relish the reality of that joy in the very person of Jesus Christ. And when it comes time to light the candle of Love, we can bask in the glory that Love came down to Earth for us.
It is becoming a litany of love to consider what each candle represents as I light it each night.
Lord, infuse our friends with hope during this season of difficulty, fear, and the unknown. You are the hope of all the earth.
Lord, prepare our hearts for your second Advent; help us prepare you room.
Lord, give the oil of gladness and peace for despair. May all our joy be found in you.
Lord, Jesus, help us to love like you. May we know the heights, the depths, the lengths of your love for us.
Even so, come Lord Jesus.