I have always been moved by the four weeks of Advent. My church growing up had an Advent wreath with four candles and a different family would light one of the candles each week leading up to Christmas. I love the words that were the focus for each week – Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace.
The beautiful thing about these words is that they are not just nice words that we could do a better job of reflecting on, they are centered around a person and an arrival.
Jesus’ arrival brings hope because we are not left on our own to manage this life. He has come and his arrival promises goodness, even if we haven’t seen it yet.
Jesus’ arrival demonstrates love because it confirms the reality of God’s great sacrifice and service to us. This brings us assurance that we are being taken care of.
Jesus’ arrival brings joy because the word has been made flesh and lived among us. The impossible is being made possible for the benefit of those who don’t deserve it. Us.
Jesus’ arrival brings peace because we know how this will all turn out. Our lives can be saved, Jesus will be victorious, and our fruitless striving can cease.
On some Advent wreaths there is one final candle, the Christ candle. This candle is lit on Christmas Eve. All of the hope, love, joy, and peace culminate in this one person. Jesus encapsulates these ancient words not as theoretical mysteries but as a walking and talking person that we can interact with, speak to, abide with, and have dwell in us.
This is why Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year.