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Advent Week 1: Hope

Together let’s light the first candle of Advent, the candle of Hope.

Our reading today comes from Isaiah 9:2-7.

“The people who walked in darkness
    have seen a great light.
For those who lived in a land of deep shadows—
    light! sunbursts of light!
You repopulated the nation,
    you expanded its joy.
Oh, they’re so glad in your presence!
    Festival joy!
The joy of a great celebration,
    sharing rich gifts and warm greetings…

For a child has been born—for us!
    the gift of a son—for us!
He’ll take over
    the running of the world.
His names will be: Amazing Counselor,
    Strong God,
Eternal Father,
    Prince of Wholeness.
His ruling authority will grow,
    and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness he brings.
He’ll rule from the historic David throne
    over that promised kingdom.
He’ll put that kingdom on a firm footing
    and keep it going
With fair dealing and right living,
    beginning now and lasting always.
The zeal of God-of-the-Angel-Armies
    will do all this.”

Do you hear the hope of this prophecy? There is light in the darkness. There is hope in the despair. The people of God believe he will bring hope, and righteousness, and justice and wholeness to his people. They see a picture of what is to come and they delight in it. And in the same way we can too. We may not always know what lies ahead, but even in our darkest moments we can trust God is in that moment and he will be in the next and the next and the next. We have hope because we know that God is good and does good. Always. So let us be sure-footed this week. Let us stand strong in the Hope of Jesus and all he did in coming to earth. And when there are others around us that maybe can’t stand on their own, let our hope hold them up as well.

God of justice and peace, 
from the heavens you rain down mercy and kindness, 
that all on earth may stand in awe and wonder 
before your marvelous deeds. 
Raise our heads in expectation, 
that we may yearn for the coming day of the Lord 
and stand without blame before your Son, Jesus Christ, 
who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

O Holy Night

What brings about hope for you? Is it the sunrise, dawning a new day? Being in nature and experiencing God’s creation? Encouraging someone? Find the things brings you hope and share it with someone this week that could use a little boost of hope in their lives.

If have kids, bring them in too and ask them what they can do for someone this week. You could even make it a family activity to do together.