We continue our celebration and preparation as Jennifer Wake walks us through the lighting of our second candle of Advent, the Faith Candle.
The Faith Candle
by Jennifer Wake
The tree is up. Decorations adorn the mantle. The boxes are back in storage. Now, I can sit back and enjoy my decorated home. I gaze at my collection of nativity sets tucked into places where I can enjoy them and remember why we celebrate Christmas. During Advent, we focus on Christ, his birth, and his second coming.
The spirit of hope, faith, joy, and love mark Advent. The Second Sunday in Advent is all about faith. Some denominations call this the Peace Candle. Peace comes through faith in God. This candle reminds us of the faith of the Hebrew people during the four hundred years of silence between the Old and New Testaments. Mary was a young Hebrew woman who knew the prophecies about the Messiah. Anticipation and longing for the Messiah filled her heart as they did the hearts of the Israelite people living under harsh Roman rule.
Some of those prophecies spoke about Bethlehem being the birthplace of the coming of the Messiah. Others spoke of the virgin birth. There are over 300 prophecies related to the Messiah. Isaiah 7:14 says, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Mary and other young women knew this verse and perhaps wondered if they would be the one God would choose to bear Jesus. Luke 1: 26-33 records Mary’s encounter with the angel Gabriel. Though she questioned Gabriel, she followed God. Her faith gave her peace to follow God’s plan and to remember every prophecy that surrounded the birth.
To start an Advent wreath, we light the candle across from the rose/pink candle and go counterclockwise. This week’s candle is called the Faith Candle or the Peace Candle. It reminds us of our faith in God sending his Son to earth. We believe God will come again and we are to prepare for his judgment of sin through our faith in his death and resurrection which give us peace with God.
During this time of preparation for Christmas, we can have peace because of our faith in Christ. Focusing on the reason behind Christmas shows us our need for salvation. Christ’s birth and his second coming give us faith to live our lives as Christ lived.
Joseph had faith in God and in his plan. He believed God and followed the instructions of the angel to bring Mary to Bethlehem. He did not leave her; he trusted God to provide and to show him what to do.
But as he [Joseph] considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us).
Prepare for the coming of Christ–first as a child and then as our eternal King. Jesus is FAITHFUL.
As you spend this week preparing for Christ’s return, here are some faith-building Scriptures to read every day.
Micah 5:2, 4
Hymns to sing with your family:
We Three Kings
O Little Town of Bethlehem
O Come All Ye Faithful
If you missed it, you can find the introduction to Advent here.
The first candle of hope.