Advent’s hope and promise

Welcome to the first week of Advent. I hope you’ve been able to implement some of the ideas I shared earlier about preparing for and celebrating Advent. If not, revisit those, and find something that brings more spirituality to these joyful days of waiting.

The first week of Advent follows a theme of hope or promise. Just as the people in ancient times were waiting for the long-foretold savior, so we wait upon the Lord coming into our lives at Christmastime. We know of the promises foretold for God’s people, and we are hopeful because of those promises.

This week’s readings carry messages of hope. Isaiah 9:1-2, 6-7 conjures the image of walking in darkness and suddenly seeing a great light — the light of Jesus in our lives. Alternate readings like Isaiah 2:2-5 remind us what the temple of the Lord is like, and others, like Romans 13:11-14, remind us that we are to clothe ourselves in Christ rather than the things of this world, as the hour of Christ has come.

As we light the first purple candle on our Advent wreaths (whether at home or in church), let’s keep in mind our Advent promises. Reflect on the readings of hope and promise discussed above. Think about an area of two of your life where perhaps hope is missing. If you’ve been praying for something for a long time, are you truly hopeful that your prayer will be answered? If you’re working toward a goal, do you live in the promise that you can reach it, with God’s help?

Reflect on these ideas throughout the week, perhaps jotting down your thoughts in a journal.

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