Lighting a candle is a simple yet profound act. It is a testimony to the power of light over darkness. The light of just one candle can push away the darkness. As we light this first candle of Advent, we begin our journey to Christmas. The first candle of Advent is called the Hope or Prophecy candle; as we anticipate Christmas, let us remember those who first spoke the promise of the coming Christ child.
[Read Micah 5:2]
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans[b] of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
[Read Isaiah 7:14]
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
[Read Isaiah 9:6-7]
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
Like the prophets of old, God’s people are called to have hope in God through the birth, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
[Read Psalm 130:5, Isaiah 40:31, Romans 15:12-13, & 1 Peter 1:3 all together in one reading]
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
And again, Isaiah says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him the Gentiles will hope.” May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
You can find several more years of Advent readings here. Please feel free to use these Advent readings in your church. Our worship team leader Andy Bradshaw put together this Christmas Advent 2016 reading using a variety of resources, taking bits and pieces from several websites as well as combining those ideas with his own original thoughts.