This is the first Sunday of Advent. When I was young, we looked forward to the 4 weeks to celebrate Advent at church. The candles would be lit, the Scriptures read, the anticipation of where it would all lead to: Christmas. Advent means “arrival” or “coming”. Christmas is coming. Jesus is coming.
I can relate to Mary’s heart. Having had 4 babies, I know how hard it is to wait the last month. You’re tired, you’re uncomfortable and most of all, you’re just SO excited to see the tiny, sweet face of your babe and hold him in your arms. For those of us in Christ, Advent is a preparation of the heart to welcome Jesus into our lives and to prepare for his soon coming arrival to Earth once again. This year in particular it sure feels like the world is restlessly anticipating something. Earthquakes, tsunamis, uprisings, riots and protests are dominating our news on a daily basis. And in the midst of it, Israel is constantly becoming the focus of all the world. So similar to over 2000 years ago when a Star led the way to the place where the newborn King lay.
This first Advent candle is PEACE. Peace is what we need to be praying for. Peace for our countries, peace for our families, peace for the world and Peace for Israel.
This hymn was written by Charles Wesley during the Reformation in the 1700’s. Incredible since the words have so much power and relevance to our world today.
Come, thou long expected Jesus, born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation, hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.
Born thy people to deliver, born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever, now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit, raise us to thy glorious throne.