Make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed. We can’t afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. Get out of bed and get dressed! Don’t loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about! -Romans 13:11-14 (The Message)
One candle burns in isolation today. Secluded but confident in the promise that others will be lit. Give it time and a second, a third, a fourth, and the final and glorious fifth candle will blaze along with it, multiplying the light and proclaiming good news.
But today it stands alone.
Perhaps that is why it is called the hope candle.
To hope is to expect. To wait with desire. To live fully in the present with the knowledge that there is more to come. To live with a future promise as your anchor, your light at the end of the tunnel – no matter how long the tunnel may be.
Is there any better way to start this advent season than with hope being lit? A flicker inside of us. A spark ignited to a flame dancing in the darkness.
Because we know what’s coming. We know that in 25 short days we will be at the end of this season of advent. We know the wait will not last forever and before we know it we will join with the angel chorus jubilantly singing, shouting, declaring the coming of our King, our Savior.
So we wait with hope. Not an abstract wishing that he will maybe someday make his presence known. Our hope has no doubt. Our hope has no apprehensive what ifs or a plan b just in case. Our hope may stand alone. Our hope may only be the tiniest flicker of a small candle on a wreath wavering in the darkness. But our hope is secure. Our hope is confident. Our hope is unshakable. Our hope is worth boasting about.
Christ is coming. We know this, and though there may be shadows and though the light is alone, we have this hope, like an anchor for our drifting souls.
Though there is only one candle lit today, it is still enough to bring light into an entire room. Walk into the softness of its light, leaving the darkness behind and boldly hoping towards the day when the wholeness of creation will be ablaze with the glory of our coming King.