First Sunday of Advent: Hope

Hello Friends,

Did you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving? Did you eat a lot of food? Did you spend time with family and friends? Did you watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and see all the big balloons and hear all the bands?

I ate lots of food on Thanksgiving, travelled back home to spend time with family and friends, and then went Christmas shopping! I did not get to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, though, because I was running around with my family before we went to my Grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving! Overall, it was a good Thanksgiving!

Thinking about Thanksgiving, I don’t know if your family does this or not, but after we eat some of us will take a nap, others will play games, and the rest of us will look at the Christmas adds to see what is on sale. More often than not, the kids take the toy adds and start circling or writing down everything that they hope they will get for Christmas while the adults take the adds filled with clothes and tools. (I go back and forth between the toys and the tools!) As I sat and listened to the kids, the word hope came out of their mouths: “I hope I get this, or I hope I get that.” Hearing the word hope got me thinking about the Advent Season.

The First Sunday of Advent usually falls on the first Sunday after Thanksgiving. And as a church family, we light the first candle of Advent (or you may do that at home with your own family). This candle is called the Candle of Hope. Do any of you know why it is called the Candle of Hope? It is called the Candle of Hope because at the start of the Advent Season, as followers of Christ, we are called to have hope that the birth of Jesus will come to save us all. We have hope that Mary and Joseph will take care of Jesus. We have hope that the shepherds and Wise Men will arrive to the manger scene safely. We have hope that Jesus will never leave us: even as a child laying in the manger, Jesus promises us to be with us for eternity. The Candle of Hope gives us the promise of what is to come.

The Candle of Hope is lit first because without hope we cannot receive peace, joy, and love. We need hope, always in our life, to remind us that what we long for can come true. Paul writes to the Romans, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13). With hope in our life, we receive joy and peace; and we learn how to believe in the power of the Holy Spirit.

As you begin to make your Christmas list remember to think about what you are actually hoping for: are you hoping for that really cool transformer or Barbie Doll, or are you hoping to just be happy on Christmas? What are you hopeful for?

Your Friend, Holy Spirit!

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