Traditionally, there are four candles lighted during the Advent season. Many families burn the first candle at dinnertime, starting the fourth Sunday before Christmas, and adding one candle each week until all are glowing bright on Christmas Eve, when the Christ Candle joins them.
There are so very many Advent devotionals out there … I hope you have a good one, or you may wish to print these texts and read them with your family in the evenings … or over coffee, if that suits you better! For our purposes in Cor Unum Abbey, we will share Scriptures and insight on the four topics that usher us through this Season of watching and waiting between now and Christmas.
Hope … the prophet’s candle
Faith … the Bethelehem candle
Joy … the shepherd’s candle
Peace … the angel’s candle
The Christ Candle
Our first Scripture reading, as we join together this on this first Sunday to begin and to rejoice together, is from the book of Psalms.
The Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love.
Psalm 147:11, NIV
Our lives would change measurably and immeasurably if we would do this one thing, if we would learn and practice the reverent fear of the Lord. It might surprise us how many times and through how many Scriptures we are admonished to be sure that we know the love of God, that we make certain that His lovingkindness is the security and the fullness in our hearts. The world around us would change if we would settle our souls in this determination. This one thing, perhaps as much as any other, is the making of a champion in Christ.
What a holy chore is set before us this Advent season, that we should enter the New Year assured beyond defeat and destruction that the love of God will prevail in us and through us! What a thing it is to be given hope, not that we should “hope” we will not be lost, ruined, defeated, impoverished, but that we shall hope to live in the reality of the unfailing love of God where there is no ruin or devastation at all.
In all things, our Father’s love prevails; if we suffer persecution, we are not abandoned, when perplexed, we are not in despair, when at times we are pressed down, we are not crushed. On the contrary, the life of Christ blossoms all the more fragrantly in tribulation (2 Corinthians 4:7-10,) and there is ever a brighter hour, a day when, in the fullness of time, all things are summed up in Christ .
There are a lot of superlatives in these paragraphs, and every one of them is valid. We are here in Cor Unum, this monastery of the heart, to do what we are called to do, to see to it that we abide in hope, and in so doing, we shall abide in truth.
Yvonne Bentley, by permission, Wikipedia