I’m a day late on writing about the first Sunday of Advent, but I had a lot going on yesterday…
We sat at our kitchen table with our Advent Wreath and lit our Hope candle in tandem with starting the memory verse and doing the scripture study for Day 1 on our Advent calendar. The kids also wrote letters to Santa. So, as you can see, we weren’t slacking off.
Oh, we also went to church and hung our outdoor Christmas lights too. I think I need to take that “day of rest” thing a little more seriously in the future…
The first candle on the wreath represents Hope. This makes a lot of sense because we are reminded of how God’s people were full of hope as they anticipated the coming of the Messiah.
We are on the other side and have seen the promises of God fulfilled through His son Jesus. Proverbs 13:12 tells us, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Now we enter the Christmas season with the fulfilled hope that comes from Jesus.
It gives us even more hope as we look forward to God’s plan as it continues to unfold through history.
Did you know that the Hope candle is also known as the Prophecy or Prophetic candle? If you think about it this makes a lot of sense. It even makes sense that this is the first candle we light which starts off Advent season.
The story of Jesus is woven throughout the Old Testament in prophecies about him. The hope of God’s people always hinged on their belief in these prophecies. After all, the only one with the power to save is Jesus and no one who has been saved has been saved by any other means (Acts 4:12, John 14:6).
God’s people were looking forward in hope to the coming Messiah. As I mentioned earlier, our hope has been strengthened by the fulfillment of the prophecies about him. The mathematician and astronomer, Peter Stoner (Wikipedia article) posited that Jesus fulfilled over 300 prophecies.
There are those who criticize his exact claims, even Christians, and in the spirit of full disclosure, I have not researched every one of these claims. Even so, I don’t think anyone can argue that Jesus definitely fulfilled quite a few Old Testament prophecies! (Okay… I’m sure there are people who do argue this, but you know what I mean.)
Hey, that gives me an idea! My kids are a bit too young for this, but if you have a budding Biblical scholar in your home, suggest to them a research project on this subject. How many Old Testament prophecies did Jesus fulfill and what are they?
A Hymn for the Hope Candle
After we lit our Hope/Prophecy candle, we sang the great hymn, “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.” This well known hymn was written by the Unitarian pastor, Edmund Sears.
If you know me, you know I’m definitely not a Unitarian, but I love this song nonetheless. The words do a phenomenal job at describing the darkness of the fallen world and at expressing the hope brought to us in the coming of Jesus.
It’s prophet-bard approved!