Over the years, one of our favorite Hatcher family Christmas traditions has been lighting the candles on our Advent wreath. On the four Sundays leading up to Christmas, we would gather around in our living room with the fire burning, the tree twinkling and candles flickering to talk about prophets and shepherds and angels and wise men who all anticipated and celebrated the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. When my eldest son, Michael, was still home, he had the honor of lighting the first candle: the Prophet’s candle, the candle of Hope.
For 400 years before Jesus was born, the people of Israel lived under the dark rule of foreign king. It was the time of Alexander the Great, of Cleopatra in Egypt, and of Julius Caesar. During this time, the temple in Jerusalem was rebuilt, but God’s people could not always worship freely. It was a bleak 400 years of silence. No voice from Heaven. No newly appointed leaders demanding freedom. No incumbent judges declaring justice.
And yet, hope lived as families passed on the promises of Yahweh, as told by the prophets of old, from generation to generation.
“'The days are coming,' declares the LORD, 'when I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David's line; he will do what is just and right in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness.'” - Jeremiah 33:14-16
You could say that we are living in a time of bleakness and darkness.
And yet, on the horizon… Can you see it?
A glimpse of hope.
Oh, weary world, rejoice!
For yonder wakes
a new and glorious morn.
Chains shall break and
oppression shall cease.
Fall on your knees
and in grateful chorus
let all within us praise His holy name!
Christ is the Lord!*
During this advent season, may you find hope at its true source.
At the side of a manger,
At the foot of a cross,
In the arms of a Savior
There, hope is not lost.
"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; upon those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” - Isaiah 9:2
*paraphrased from “O, Holy Night”