A few years ago, the Two Ronnies on their TV programme had a never-to-be-forgotten sketch called ‘Four Candles’ (still to be found on YouTube!). As we enter the weeks leading up to Christmas that are called Advent, each Sunday we will be lighting an Advent Candle. Each of them is an affirmation of the wonder of Christmas. Behind each stands God’s incredible love.
The first candle symbolises hope. It is a reminder that the birth of Jesus had been foretold centuries beforehand: who He would be, the kind of things He would do and, surprisingly, where He would be born. This is a reminder that Christmas was no ‘accident’ but had been planned. The kind of hope we find in the Bible is by no means a ‘wishy-washy, maybe’ kind of hope. It is hope because it hadn’t happened when mentioned, but there was no question that it wouldn’t happen. God keeps his word – always.
The second candle has as its theme, faith. Mary was a young teenager and was in love and looking forward to getting married. One day, out of the blue, an angel approaches – he has some shattering news for Mary. She is going to be a mum and her baby would be conceived by the power of God’s Spirit coming upon her. She couldn’t understand it fully. Her life would never be the same. But Mary believed the angel. Faith is not merely a matter of words; it is life changing.
The third Sunday candle represents joy. The Christmas story is bubbling over with joy. There is the joy of the angel choir singing their praises to God in the presence of the shepherds. There are the shepherds visiting the stable. The wise men were overjoyed as they followed the star to its destination, the infant King Jesus. Real Christmas joy still finds its focus in Jesus.
The fourth candle speaks of peace and is a reminder of the purpose of Christmas. Jesus came to destroy barriers to peace – this He did by dying and rising again. Because of Jesus, we can receive peace with God and can know peace with others.
There’s one more – the one at the centre that is lit on Christmas Day. Praise God for the gift of Jesus who is the Son of God, the Saviour of the World. He is the Light of the World, the Prince of Peace, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. There is no one else like Him!
May the blessings of hope, faith, joy and peace be yours in a Jesus-filled Christmas and throughout the New Year.
Blessings and Love