Hope is a theme present throughout the Bible. In fact the season of Advent, which we begin today, is all about hope and expectation. The act of lighting candles during the Advent season fans the flame of expectation. They remind us of the light of Jesus Christ that God's people anticipated long ago and the light of Jesus' second coming that we anticipate still today.
Isaiah 9:2,4 says, “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine. For you will break the yoke of their slavery and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders.”
At the time this prophesy was written there was no salvation outside of rules and sacrifice. The people lived in spiritual darkness and gloom, waiting and watching for the day the true light would dawn and their chains of sin and despair would be broken. Just like children afraid of the dark long for a light to dispel their fear the Israelite's hoped for the promise of “The true light that gives light to every man.”
At just the right moment in time Jesus’ birth pierced the darkness on a Bethlehem night. Jesus fulfilled the promise of God that one day a light would dawn on those living in the shadow of death. He was born to penetrate our darkness and ignite hope in our souls. We light candles at advent to remember that Jesus was the fulfillment of God’s promise of hope.
How are you like the Israelites today? Where are you looking for hope? There are many things in life we hope for. Titus 2:13 reminds us that “we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed.”