Have you put up your lights yet? Have you turned them on? At this time of the year the lights are going up all around you. You are programed to expect and look for the special Christmas lights. You may go to a special lighting event. You may watch it on television. You have different ways of looking for the Christmas lights. The big question is, how are you looking for the genuine light?
Today marks the beginning of Advent. In many churches, each Sunday someone or a group of people will light the Advent candle. Each candle conveys something different. In many traditions, they symbolize Hope, Love, Joy and Peace. As you look around the world, I’m sure you’d agree that we need these. What better time to be reminded of this need than during Advent?
During Advent we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ, the love of God manifested, the bringer of joy, the Prince of Peace, and Hope and Light of the world. Still, the question needs to be asked: In the midst of these many lights, how are you looking for the genuine light that is Jesus Christ?
Are You Looking for the Genuine Light With Color?
When you look at the Advent candles as they are lit, what will you look for? Will you simply look at the colors and wonder about them, listening to the reading to discover more about them? Will you see beyond the colors to their significance? Will you simply be curious to see who is lighting the candle on a particular Sunday? Or, will you allow the colors of the light to help you to wonder anew at the genuine light, Jesus Christ? The lighting of colored candles at Advent can be a prayerful time of a fresh encounter with Jesus, the Light of the World. This happens when you are looking for the genuine light.
Are You Looking for the Genuine Light With Hope?
During Advent, there is one candle symbolizing hope. You know that hope keeps you going. I think of Anna and Simeon in the temple, hoping through all the years. Then Jesus came and they praised God. As Simeon saw the baby Jesus he said these famous words:
“Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel” (Luke 2:29–32).
In the midst of violence, your own circumstances, and many others, we too need to look for the genuine light with hope. Hope for now, as God directs us to follow Jesus’ path to bring healing and deliverance to the lives of many. Hope for now, as we find our salvation through Jesus Christ. Hope for the future as we face eternity for indeed, Jesus Christ in us is still “the hope of glory.”
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