Listen to this devotional:
Isaiah 40:3 – A voice cries out: "In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God." (NRSV)
As season leads to season, one year after another, comes the season of Christmas, heralded by Advent, when we sing:
- Prepare the royal highway;
The King of kings is near!
Let ev'ry hill and valley
A level road appear!
Then greet the King of glory
Foretold in sacred story
Hosanna to the Lord,
For He fulfills God's Word!
- – Frans Mikael Franzén
I am stirred to open the door to Advent. My preparation includes making an Advent wreath with candles. Although the colours of the Advent candles differ from time to time, each colour has a meaning. The circular wreath and its green colour symbolize God's eternity and our expectation of joy and hope. The violet candles invite us to repentance, to deeper self-study, to spiritual depths, and to greater love for others. Blue is for hope, and pink is for joy. Whatever the colours, the symbolism is much the same, as a candle is lit each Sunday, diminishing the darkness and hopelessness. More light shines out each week, until Christmas Day, when the white candle in the centre is lit for Christ.
I enjoy the quiet time watching the tall flames and listening to Christmas hymns in the background.
My Advent celebration never fails to fill me with peace and move me into a deeper appreciation of those moments as I "prepare the royal highway. The King of kings is near."
I am blessed to have these moments after a trying year and the ways that the world and the worldly move. My hope is "The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love." (Psalm 103:8 NRSV)
"Stir up your power, O Lord, and come. Protect us by Your strength and save us from the threatening dangers of our sins, for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever." (a prayer for the first Sunday in Advent from my old Lutheran book of worship)
Prayer: Dear Lord, make Your coming real to us. With the flames of the candles, enter our hearts to shine wider and deeper into the darkness. Give us a real Advent! Come, Lord Jesus! Amen!