Today, we light the first candle.

At our church, we will call that the one HOPE candle. At other churches, they switch the themes of their candles around. They sometimes don’t even do the traditional “Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love” at all–they might do something completely different, like have each candle stand for someone in the Nativity story, or choose words that all start with the same letter or form an acronym.

But me? Starting with hope seems right to me. It is not Advent without hope.

Hope that this season is different.

Hope that we have not been forgotten.

Hope that God is still with us.

Hope that as we begin this journey once again, we will arrive at the manger and meet the Messiah.

I long for all of these things to be true, and I am very aware that my world is full of things that try to discourage hope.

Which is why we light the first candle.

We don’t get to have hope without having grief. Hope dares to admit that not everything is as it should be, and so if we want to be hopeful, first we have to grieve. First we have to see that something is broken and there is a reason for why we need hope to begin with.” –Sarah Bessey, from her article “Does Advent Even Matter When the World is on Fire?”

We light the first candle and we hope together.

Have a blessed Advent!

Want to participate in the Word-a-Day challenge? Here are the lists!

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