The Advent candle lit Sunday morning in our worship service represents hope fulfilled in Jesus.
The story of Israel is one of promise, covenant and failure on the part of Israel. We see this time and again in the Old Testament. What marks the end of the Old Testament is one of renewed hope, yet somewhat despairing, because though a number of Jewish exiles had returned to the land, and the temple had been rebuilt, the grand promises of the prophets in the Old Testament and the hope of the Messiah which was kindled into a blaze during the Intertestamental period (the time between the Old and New Testament) were not yet realized. Israel was under the heel of a foreign invader; it certainly did not seem that God was King in the way he had promised.
Hope in the midst of despair. When we're in despair our hope can wane, diminish with even the danger of disappearing. We can lose all hope, which means we're in despair. How many of us are there right now concerning something or maybe a number of things in our lives. Things in which in our heads we can see God's promises for us to help in those matters, yet for whatever reason they remain unresolved.
Hope is found in the story of God and in the coming of a little baby boy into the world, something we remember and celebrate this season. Because of this coming, this advent, we know that by faith we will receive all the benefits and blessings from God through this. Not just for ourselves, but for all. This is God's gift to all.
Advent is a season of hope. Let's not let go of that hope, but hold on to it by faith. Let's do so with others, and let's look for the beginnings of God's fulfillment to us in Jesus here and now, in the unfolding of God's good will first in our lives, and then through them into the lives of others.