I love Advent, it’s a very special celebration just between me and Jesus. If you’re not familiar, every Sunday of the month you light a new candle that represents a different aspect of the Christmas story, first is hope, second is peace, third is joy, fourth is love, and the fifth is the Christmas candle, all lovingly encircled in an evergreen wreath reminding us of the everlasting ever-living Father.
I don’t really remember why or when I started celebrating it, especially since I don’t know anyone else who does, but for many years it’s just become a special Jesus and me time that overtakes my whole month of December and breaks me and heals me and gets me ready for Christmas to be meaningful and intentional.
Every year I almost don’t celebrate it. The waiting and the focus on hope peace and joy always make me uncomfortable in seasons when they feel deathly scarce. But Jesus always compels me in the end.
This year I told Him my Advent wreath is ugly, I lost my candles and candle holders in my last move, and on top of that, a dear friend heard me speaking about Advent and called to share her theological differences on why I shouldn’t celebrate it.
Can’t I just put it all away Jesus, I mean You and I know what it all means. Can’t we skip it this year?
You know what He said to me? “It isn’t about your ugly wreath or candles, you already carry that symbolism of Who I am and how I am the evergreen that never dies. And how I am the light of the world, the light of your life, and the light that lights up all hope, peace, and joy. These symbols are fun and at one time you needed them desperately as a visual reminder but they’ve lodged deep in your heart now, use your ugly wreath and makeshift candle, that’s less important for you this year.
Do you remember when one of my disciples was asking about another’s walk with me, and I said to him what is that to you, follow thou Me?
It’s not about where others are with Me, or where I have you, Advent between Me and you is the chance to commune and be together. It’s special to us because it’s just about you and I and the time we have together.”
So today I light the candle of peace, and I’m grateful that this year as He took me through the process of restoring my hope, this candle is easy to light, and this peace is easy to feel.
I reflect on years past when they were all difficult candles to light. Hope is hard to hang onto and life has not always been reflective of hope, or peace, and I remember there’s always been a process of restoring my hope that He’s had to do before I can light my peace candle.
Sometimes I light them shakily and desperately, clinging to every ounce of hope I can muster up and offering the pieces up where my hope’s been broken, trusting that Jesus will stick it back together enough for me to move on. And He does. We celebrate those memories of His faithfulness together today.
Hope, peace, joy, love, Jesus. There will always be enough for us even if at times we must struggle to see it and believe in their presence or truth.
So light your makeshift candle and get out your ugly Advent wreath, the celebration of these things isn’t always pretty and that’s okay, it’s just about time spent with your Father, being with Him, celebrating Him, soaking in His presence and the memories you share and the promises you have.
It’s about moving past any empty rituals in your life and moving toward everything that celebrates your relationship and your friendship with Him. That’s what Advent, or really any celebration centering Him, is about.
I‘m married to my dearest friend of 8 years and mom to an energetic 6-year-old. My greatest joys come from traveling with my little family, cooking for appreciative recipients, learning herbalism and natural medicine, and every experience I get to have in prayer ministry. I’m an avid tea and book lover and can’t get enough of either. I love Jesus and the daily adventure that comes from walking in friendship with him as he arranges and rearranges my story.