Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
We move forward in our Advent journey, and as this second week has come, so has the lighting of the second Advent candle. The candles symbolize how the darkness gets cast out of our lives and our paths more and more as we prepare ourselves for Jesus’ coming. Last week, with only one candle lit, we acknowledged that our world is still a dark place, but that we hope in Jesus as the light that shines through the brokenness.
This week, we see that the candle of love joins with the candle of hope, shining as an even brighter testament to the good news of Jesus’ coming. We too, as we minister to one another and to our community in love and hope, shine brighter when we shine together.
God’s love for us started before we can even imagine. In the beginning, He made man and woman in His image, and He saw that they were good. He walked among them in the garden, and he talked with them. Then, they were deceived by the serpent, and their sinful action was enough to separate them and the rest of humanity from God. In the Bible, it only takes three chapters for humans to ruin the most beautiful thing God had created — the communion between God and His creation, humankind. But God doesn’t write us off. From that point on, the rest of the Bible — in most Bibles it’s a story that’s over 1,000 pages long — God is in pursuit of us, trying to make a way so that we can be with Him again, because He loves us.
The story of Christmas is really the story of the unfailing, undeterred love of God that would do literally ANYTHING to get us back. So He does the unthinkable, He sends His Son. And because of that, we all have the opportunity to know Him, to be with Him, both now and forever. As we go through this Advent season, let us remember and tell the story of how our loving God sent His Son for us. Let’s shine as lights through the darkness telling and embodying the loving story of the God who would do anything to get us back.
Light the Advent Candles Gospel Reading: Matt. 22:23-33
EMBRACE THE LOVE OF GOD
The Advent season is about remembering the first Advent coming of Jesus, and to look forward to the second coming of Jesus. Before sin, there was no death. We read in the scriptures that in the garden, God walked about with Adam and Eve, but when they sinned, they had two punishments that are inherently linked — they were separated from God and they received the punishment of death.
Jesus’ first coming was God’s loving act of coming to us, giving us a brief respite from the first consequence of humanity’s sin. In His death and resurrection, He overcame the punishment of death, and offers all those who live in Him the chance to live in Him forever. This is how, in our gospel reading today, Jesus talks about Abraham, Isaac and Jacob being alive — he is talking about the eternal realm where God reigns.
Jesus’ second coming will be God’s loving act of not just coming to us, but allowing us to come to Him. We take hope in Jesus’ words about the dead being brought to life in Christ, and we hope for His second coming, when there will be an end to death, pain, and suffering.
During Advent, we are called not just to hope in God’s promises, though. We are given space to remember His love for us. He doesn’t just want us to live and not die — He wants us to be with Him. We can’t even imagine the depths of His undying love. Are you ready to embrace the love of a living God?
Light of light, we humbly pray, shine upon your world today. Break the gloom of our dark night and fill our souls with love and light.3
3) Adapted from Douglas L. Rights, “Veiled in Darkness Judah Lay” (1915), Cyber Hymnal, http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/v/e/i/veildark.htm.