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4 Advent Prayers of Hope and Light

Christmas is coming. A vaccine is coming. The good news is here!

Advent candles
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I mistakenly figure the word “advent” means waiting because right now I’m waiting big time. Not only for Christmas but also for Covid to be over, waiting for a return to normalcy. Here’s what I have to remind myself. Advent means coming.

Got that? Christmas is coming. A vaccine is coming. The good news is here. How it will play out? We don’t know any more than those shepherds who showed up at a manger because an angel told them, “I bring you good news of great joy…” Let’s look for that joy. It’s coming.

1)  There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him… (Isaiah 11:1-2)

I noticed some neighbors planting bulbs recently. “Why now?” I thought. “It’ll be ages before they bloom.”

Why now? Because those good gardeners trust in what they know, the way the prophet Isaiah could trust in what God was telling him. Even in the dark of winter. Sink your roots down in the rich soil of faith. Trust in God’s word.

2)  You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house…(Matthew 5:14)

Grudgingly, I put electric candles on our windowsill as Advent begins. Every night we turn on those bulbs, and they shed their light.

As Jesus reminded His followers, we are the light. We make Christmas happen in other people’s hearts by that gift we buy, those cookies we bake, that donation we make to a favorite charity. Let your light shine forth. Don’t hide it. The illumination will spread.

3)  Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into His presence with singing! (Psalm 100:2)

In our current Zoom worship services, our choir director always plays a hymn or two. “Why bother?” I used to think. “None of us are there to sing along.”

Then a friend told me how when those hymns—they will be carols soon—come on she sings at the top of her lungs at home. All by herself. Now I try to do the same. Thinking about all that singing going on in different homes. I can’t hear it. But God can.

3)  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

Good news is meant to be celebrated. Take out that Advent calendar. Set up that creche. Put Mary and Joseph in the stable. You can leave that manger empty for now.

The time will come when you’ll put the baby there and the shepherds will appear, and the angels will sing and the wise men offer their gifts. Christmas is coming. It’s the message of Advent.

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