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Candle #1: “Jesus, the Longing of my Heart?”
This is the season of Advent. Advent means coming. In the church calendar, Advent is the four weeks before Christmas and focuses on the celebration of Jesus the Messiah in His first coming and the anticipation of His second coming.
The successive lighting of the candles each week reminds us that Jesus is the Light of the world that comes into the darkness of our lives to bring newness, life and hope. The progression in the lighting of the candles symbolizes the various aspects of our waiting experience — something is happening and more is yet to come.
The season of Advent, a season of waiting, is designed to cultivate a sense of longing for God. It’s a reminder of God’s faithfulness. Israel longed for God to deliver them from slavery of Egypt — and He came. Israel longed for God to rescue them from Babylon — and He did. Israel longed for a Messiah to come and rescue them from darkness — and He did — coming as the Savior of the world.
This Advent, we once again enter into the waiting, the longing, and the anticipation of the presence of God. For there to be anticipation, we must be expecting something. Advent is not just about the prophecies of Messiah coming or the same old story of a baby in a manger. But there’s anticipation — a longing for something more. It’s in this season we are reminded that as He came before, so we are longing for the presence of our God in this world.
There’s more going on than simply hanging lights or even lighting candles. Advent reminds us that Christmas is more than Hallmark and good feelings, but the fact that a Savior came and that He is coming again. 2 Timothy 4:8 “Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day — and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing.”
Just as children anticipate Christmas, they are a reminder to us that while they long for gifts that will soon lose their shine, we are rewarded when we long for the Gift who will never lose His shine or glory. Long for His appearing. Advent heightens our awareness that He came and that we can anticipate His coming again. This Advent, we once again enter the waiting, the longing, and indeed the anticipation of the presence of God. God promised that Immanuel would come. And He promised He would come again. Let us be prepared, not exhausted.