The first candle lit is the light of hope. Hope is a word we often use. “I hope that the weather is fine on Christmas Day”, “I hope that I win the lottery” or a common sentence in many homes this week “I hope that Santa brings … “!
Christian hope is more than wishful thinking. It is the confident faith that God is in control, that God is merciful.
In Christian faith the expression of hope is a belief that in Jesus Christ we know the gift of life and a way of living that is hope-giving for each of us and for the world.
There will be thousands of people this Christmas who will be hope-bringers to people and communities all over the world, offering food, shelter, companionship and a helping hand.
Jesus empowered the poor and the most marginalised. He treated women and men with equal respect. He challenged unjust leaders and cared for children. Jesus demonstrated a better way of life and wants to impart that way of life into our hearts and to our world.
Hope is not, therefore, a punt or a risk but rather, as Jesus showed us, it is our choice to be hope-bringers and agents of change for those in our families and communities, our workplaces and city, and those we may never meet who need our help.
The second candle is the light of peace. As this year draws to a close, we are conscious of so many people who need peace in the nations of the world, in our communities, among our colleagues and friends, and perhaps even in our own hearts and minds.
This light of peace is not a pipe dream, nor a feigned peace which pretends that everything is okay when really it is not.
The final Advent candle lit before Christmas is the light of love. Christians believe that in Jesus Christ the world is given the offer of salvation, and the chance to see what divine love really means; divine love found in the experiences of caring for friend and stranger, seeking justice, feeding the hungry, healing the broken-hearted, caring for the earth and working for peace. That is the kind of love that this light calls us to share this Christmas.
As the clock strikes midnight on Christmas morning, the central candle of the Advent wreath is lit, celebrating that the light of Christ has come into the world and will come again. As it shines into the darkness it invites all those who see it to let the gifts of which the wreath speaks inform how they live their lives, for when we each bring hope, make peace, gift joy and live love, then the world is transformed.
Our world needs that transformation, a transformation we are all invited to be part of bringing.
“When (or if ever) you arrive in heaven, let faith, hope and love be the wings that carried you there.”
– as adapted from the inspiring words of Jonathan Edwards, former minister in New England, Massachusetts
“The Greatest Race: Living by (with) faith, hope and love is the highest podium any person can reach, God’s podium that anyone stand on.”
TOGETHER, one mind, one heart, one soul, one small step at a time, we can make some difference towards a better world, a brighter tomorrow
“SHARE, ENCOURAGE and SPREAD, HOPE, LOVE and LIGHT”