First Sunday - Advent Wreath
Begin by dimming the lights if possible. Note the meaning of the advent wreath tradition. Evergreens remind us of everlasting life even in the midst of winter. The circle shape of the wreath reminds us how God’s love for us never ends and of his provision of eternal life. Red holly berries remind us of Jesus’s blood that was shed for us.
Light the first purple candle.
“In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:4-5)
The first candle symbolizes HOPE. It is also referred to as the Prophet’s Candle. It reminds us of how the Old Testament prophets awaited the Messiah’s arrival and spoke God’s messages to the people about him. The candle is purple to represent royalty, fasting, and repentance.
Isaiah 9:2-7. (Isaiah was written about 700 years before Jesus was born.)
“The people walking in darkness see a bright light; light shines on those who live in a land of deep darkness.
You have enlarged the nation; you give them great joy. They rejoice in your presence as harvesters rejoice; as warriors celebrate when they divide up the plunder.
For their oppressive yoke and the club that strikes their shoulders, the cudgel the oppressor uses on them, you have shattered, as in the day of Midian’s defeat.
Indeed every boot that marches and shakes the earth and every garment dragged through blood is used as fuel for the fire.
For a child has been born to us, a son has been given to us. He shoulders responsibility and is called Wonderful Adviser, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His dominion will be vast, and he will bring immeasurable prosperity. He will rule on David’s throne and over David’s kingdom, establishing it and strengthening it by promoting justice and fairness, from this time forward and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will accomplish this.”
What would it have been like to wait for the Messiah for hundreds of years and many generations? One definition of hope is “to expect with confidence.” We live after the fulfillment of the Messiah’s coming, but what is something we still hope for today? How can our hope in the fulfillment of God’s promises help us endure today’s challenges?
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, today we remember the hope you gave the world when you promised to send a Messiah so long ago. Thank you that we have seen the fulfillment of your promises through the Light that came into our world when Jesus was born. May we remember what a privilege it is to know you. Strengthen us with the hope of the fulfillment of your promises that we still await. Amen.
Elise has attended Scarlet City Church for over 10 years and has served in many areas, most recently as an elementary teacher in Scarlet City Kids.