Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.

For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people:

but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee.

And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

Isaiah 60:1-3 KJV

We light this candle as a symbol of Christ our Hope.

May the light sent from God shine in the darkness to show us the way of salvation.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel.

On this first Sunday of Advent was light the candle of HOPE. We find ourselves desperately in need of hope after two years of total upheaval of what we think is “normal.” We are in a dark place. We are fighting a virus that is here to stay if we are to believe the scientists, ever evolving and affecting our lives. We are experiencing economic trauma with costs rising every day. There is political unrest in our country with a divided people and no compromise in view. The heavily populated east and west coast areas believe the country should go in one direction, while the more rural areas of the country believe just as strongly that the country is headed in the wrong direction. Our southern border is wide open and our citizens find themselves under attack with no one in authority acting to bring them relief. Russia is attacking Ukraine, China is threatening Taiwan, North Korea is testing nuclear missiles, and the tensions build. These are added to the everyday frustrations real people face in their real everyday lives – a flat tire on the car, the washing machine breaks, a sick child, a broken relationship, and the list goes on. Life’s pressures keep building.

What are we to do?

Who are you depending on?

If I didn’t believe in a loving God who cares about every detail of my life I would be in despair.

God sent His Son, Jesus, to die on a cross, so that the relationship that was broken by sin could be restored. Jesus died, the debt was paid, and everyone who accepts his payment is saved.

This season of Advent reminds me that God saw a world in darkness and sent His Light.

In the beginning was the Word,

and the Word was with God,

and the Word was God.

The same was in the beginning with God.

All things were made by Him:

and without Him was not anything made that was made.

In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.

(John 1:1-4)

Jesus died on a cross, but He did not remain in the grave. He lives!

And Advent reminds me of His promised return.

And after He had said these things.

He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.

And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going,

behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them.

They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky?

This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven,

will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.

Acts 1:9-11

Behold, He cometh with clouds;

and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him:

and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him.

Even so, Amen.

Revelation 1:7

For the LORD Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout,

with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God:

and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds,

to meet the Lord in the air:

and so shall we ever be with the LORD.

I Thessalonians 4:16-17

Jesus said we would live in a word with trouble. The final battle has not yet been fought. But while we live in a world broken by sin we are not without hope for God sent us His Holy Spirit to guide us, to encourage us, to empower us, and to keep us.

Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me.

(John 14:1)

Peace I leave with you,

my peace I give unto you:

not as the world giveth,

give I unto you.

Let not your heart be troubled,

neither let it be afraid.

(John 14:27)

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.

In the world ye shall have tribulation:

but be of good cheer;

I have overcome the world.

(John 16:33)

And so, as we light the candle of HOPE this day

 we stand in the light of God’s love

trusting in the promise of Christ’s return

to take us to live with Him in heaven for eternity.

The marketplace is empty

No more traffic in the streets

All the builders’ tools are silent

No more time to harvest wheat

Busy housewives cease their labors

In the courtroom no debate

Work on earth is all suspended

As the King comes thro’ the gate

Happy faces line the hallways

Those whose lives have been redeemed

Broken homes that He has mended

Those from prison He has freed

Little children and the aged

Hand in hand stand all aglow

Who were crippled, broken, ruined

Clad in garments white as snow

I can hear the chariots rumble

I can see them marching throng

The flurry of God’s trumpets

Spells the end of sin and wrong

Regal robes are now unfolding

Heaven’s grandstand’s all in place

Heaven’s choir now assembled

Start to sing “Amazing Grace”

O the King is coming

The King is coming

I just heard the trumpets sounding

And now His face I see

O the King is coming

The King is coming

Praise God, He’s coming for me

On this first Sunday of Advent I invite you to listen to this song by the Gaither’s and to reflect on God’s gift of a Savior, Jesus Christ. His coming as a baby in a manger gave hope to a lost world and His coming again as King of Kings and Lord of Lords will set right what sin attempted to destroy.

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