As we move through Advent, we usually think of waiting, anticipating an event which draws us closer to Emmanuel–the answer to our hope. Advent means “coming;” and Emmanuel means “God with us.” This Christian season draws our attention to the One who has already come and is coming again–Our Savior, Jesus. While we look forward to celebrating and remembering the birth of Christ at Christmas, we focus our attention on the “Who” of Christmas during Advent.
“The Lord is coming, always coming. When you have ears to hear and eyes to see, you will recognize him at any moment of your life. Life is Advent; life is recognizing the coming of the Lord.” ~Henri Nouwen
With Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love as a theme ( one for each of the Sundays in Advent), we follow the shepherds and wise men to our hearts’ longings. Each week, we light one of the candles in the Advent wreath, and focus on these heavenly gifts which are fulfilled in Christ (Emmanuel).
That first week in Advent, we light a purple candle of Hope. Jesus is our Hope both now and eternally.
“but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31
As we light the second candle, we focus on Jesus as our Peace. In this hectic, hurting world where we never know what lies ahead, we desire a heart and mind that is at peace. In Emmanuel, we can trust that our Savior will carry us through whatever circumstances trouble us with His reassurance of peace because He is with us. He doesn’t promise our circumstances in this life will change or be easy, but He does offer us His peace that passes understanding. Have you ever watched someone walk through an incredible loss in his or her life and watch the brokenhearted one experience pain but peace at the same time? It’s usually because that person has an undeniable peace that God is there and will bring him or her through the situation.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
The third week we light the pink candle of Joy! The time to greet the One for whom we’ve been waiting and anticipating is coming closer. Our hearts exude gladness! Strains of “Joy to the World” slide over our lips as we realize that through our long nights of waiting, the Lord is coming! Jesus is our source of Joy!
“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10&11
On the last Sunday of Advent, Love overtakes our waiting and anticipating. We light the last purple candle and focus on the love of our Savior, Emmanuel, who came as a baby in a manger to give us sinners eternal life with Him. Jesus, the Son of God, was born in a manger, grew up as a carpenter’s son in Nazareth, began His public ministry on earth at about the age of 30 (Luke 3:23) and died on a cross on Calvary for our sins giving those who accept Him as Lord and Savior the gift of eternal life with Him in heaven. And this is the hope, peace, joy, and love of Advent.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:16-17
Heavenly Father, we pray that You would lead us through this Advent season drawing us closer to You in Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. May we see these through Your Word and time in prayer with You, the great love You pour out on us through the gift of Your Son, our Emmanuel and Savior, Jesus.
Below are some suggested resources to help you travel the Advent road to Christmas day:
All of these books are available on Amazon. Have a Blessed Advent and Christmas.
From My Heart to Yours,