Today is the first Sunday of advent, the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day. Advent in Latin means ‘coming’, and so the advent season is when we look forward to celebrating the coming of Jesus into the world.
You may have seen many churches light an advent candle on each of the four Sundays of advent, and a central fifth candle on Christmas Day.
Worship during advent is almost like a round up of all things that Christmas represents to Christians, with the candles representing the light of God coming to earth as the Christ-child.
Each of the four advent candles has a meaning
In the coming Sunday’s of advent I’ll speak about the candles of peace, love and joy, but today, the first Sunday of advent is all about the hope that Jesus brings to the world.
Hope is something I think we all need more than ever this Christmas because of all changes we’ve had to make to how we live our lives, and more importantly, because of the many who have sadly passed away after contracting Coronavirus. It has been an incredibly tough year for everyone, especially those who work in our National Health Service (NHS), and our politicians. Everyone has been trying to do the ‘right thing’ to try and limit the spread of this virus. Many of our NHS workers have gone above and beyond, often putting themselves and their own families second, so they can care for those who have contracted the virus.
We are in desperate need of hope. There are so many who have already lost hope. So many who don’t even know there is One who can light the way to a brighter future.
This Christmas let us remember that there is hope for as all, and it can be found by looking back at that first Christmas morning, when the light of the world, Christ, was born to bring us hope.
I was reminded earlier of one line of a well-known carol which let us “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight”. So as we celebrate Christmas this year, let us remember to celebrate the hope that Christmas represents.