This season, I’ll be drawing your attention to the Advent wreath to help us follow the season over the next four weeks.
There is so much symbolism to this wreath; its circular shape is meant to represent God, the Creator and Preserver of all things. His love has no beginning and no end; it is eternal. There are four outer candles, each one representing one week of Advent. At the beginning of each week, one of the four candles is lit.
The lighting of these candles symbolizes the light of Jesus, slowly but surely, overcoming the darkness. The closer we get to Christmas, the more light there is in the world. On Christmas Day itself, a centre candle is lit in addition to all four of the exterior candles. This central candle, also known as the Christ candle, represents Jesus who we as Christians believe to be the Savior of the world; the pure light that once and for all eliminates all darkness. He makes right all that is wrong with the world.
Each of the four outer candles has a theme attached to it. This week, the first candle that we light is the candle of HOPE. It couldn’t possibly be a more timely occasion to focus on hope. We will open our New Hope Leslieville (NHL) shelter very soon now. Our entire focus as we hire staff for that shelter is hope.
When we reflect on this theme of hope, we are challenged to think about all the things we long for in this world. In our work, we hold so much hope for each person who comes through our doors every day. We hope they can find a home. We hope they can find a job. We hope they can reconcile with their family. We hope their mental health issues are stabilized. We hope they can kick their addictions. We hope and hope and hope for our friends on the street, that one day they can find joy in this life.
So for this first week of Advent, it is indeed my hope that you will be reminded that one day all of the righteous hopes for our lives, as well as hopes for this broken world, will be fulfilled. In the meantime, we must continue to strive to bring this hope wherever we go as we strive to be ‘The Hand of God in the Heart of the City.’
God, source of all hope,
We pray that you will continue to light the candle of hope in our hearts every day,
And that hopefully one day soon you’ll fulfill all of our hopes for this world.