December 2, 2018, Week 1 • The Candle of Hope
We are surrounded by pervasive spiritual hopelessness, uncertainty, and despair.
Yet, in Advent, we are surprised by hope even in the darkest night by God’s
messenger, proclaiming: “I bring you good news....”
The Shepherds tended their flocks on a hillside in the chill of the Judean night.
This was a night like any other night, until they were surprised by an angel who
brought God’s promise of hope.
Suddenly, the Shepherds were surrounded by a dazzling light that struck fear into
them. Yet, the angel spoke those words many people yearn to hear today: “Do
not be afraid.”
These were the same words spoken to Mary when she was informed that she had
found favor with God. Too frequently, hope cannot be heard and embraced until
our fears are addressed and dispelled.
Fears abound in our world today. Fears within and without. Fears of
circumstances sure to come; fears of situations possible but highly unlikely;
fears brought on by aging bodies, insecure employment, unstable economies,
and deteriorating relationships. Fears abound.... “We wait in hope for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield” (Psalm 33:20,
The people of God yearned in hope for the coming of the Messiah, their Savior and
Deliverer. Even in desperate and hopeless times, we struggle to keep hope alive.
“[We] trust in you; do not let [us] be put to shame, nor let [our] enemies triumph
over [us]” (Psalm 25:2,
The Shepherds on that night experienced what hope in God promises in the world
today: A peace that attends the promise of hope.
As we light the Candle of Hope, help us to remember that “for everything that
was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance
taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide,
we might have hope” (Romans 15:4,
From this, we are confident: The hopes and dreams of all the years are met in
Jesus Christ. Dear Jesus, “we have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm
and secure” (Hebrews 6:19a,