Advent 2020

   Sunday, November 29th 2020 marked the first Sunday of Advent on the ecclesiastical calendar. The Advent season has always brought up warm memories of my family sitting down for Sunday dinner. After Thanksgiving the Christmas decorations would come out and with them the Advent wreath and its five candles would be placed at the center of our dinner table. As we sat down for Sunday dinner one of us three children would be selected to light the Advent candles. It was quite an honor to play with fire at the dinner table! Each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas would welcome a new candle to be lit with the fifth being lit on Christmas. My Father would proceed to share what each candle represented and proceed to read the corresponding scriptures.
   The first candle is called the Prophecy Candle and it represents hope. This candle recalls the prophecies given in the Old Testament that foretold God’s salvation through the coming Messiah. The second candle is the Bethlehem Candle. The Bethlehem Candle represents love and symbolizes Christ’s manger. The Shepherds Candle is the third candle and it represents joy and celebration for the news of Messiah’s birth! The fourth candle is the Angels Candle and represents peace. The Christ candle, white in color, is the fifth and final candle to be lit on Christmas. The Christ candle represents Jesus Christ the light of the world!
   I admit as a child I did not fully understand what the word advent meant or how important those scripture passages were that my Dad would read to us. Over the years, each year, I would catch something new. The depth and meaning of the season became more and more important to me. As this year’s Advent season begins I want to take the next few articles and dedicate them to remembering what God has done for us in the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. This year more than ever people are in short supply of hope, love, joy, and peace. I believe if we remember the reason for this season you will find and unending supply of Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace.
   The Prophecy Candle being lit on the first Sunday of advent represents hope. It is interesting to me to see how the definition of hope has changed over the years. Well, maybe not the definition of the verb but the object of the verb. In Webster’s 1913 dictionary the verb “hope” is almost synonymous with “trust”. Hope is defined as - To place confidence; to trust with confident expectation of good; — usually followed by the word "in". “I hope in thy word.” Psalm 119:81. “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” (Psa. 42:11). The modern Webster Dictionary just states, “Archaic: Trust. To want something to happen or be true.”
   If our hope is based on mankind it is no surprise that hope is in short supply today. After all just look at the turmoil we have experienced over the last nine months. Our hope must be in someone greater than us or our circumstances. Our hope must be founded upon God! The few prophecies below were given by prophets over 700 years prior to Jesus Christ. They prophesy that he would be born a virgin in Bethlehem. They reveal his family heritage and his purpose for coming. Consider these prophecies from the Old Testament:

"Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” (Is. 7:14 NKJV)

““But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”” (Mic. 5:2 NKJV)

“There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him...” (Is. 11:1–2 NKJV)

““And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;” (Dan. 9:26 NKJV)

“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” (Is. 53:5 NKJV)

   This Advent season let me encourage you to put your hope in God for He is more than able to accomplish all that He promises. “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:13 NKJV)

   This Sunday will be the 30th week of our fellowship meeting together! God has protected us and encouraged us. Come ready to worship Him for He is worthy!

Pastor Dave

Advent 2020 (part 2)
He Will Rescue His Bride