One of my favorite traditions of Christmas is the advent wreath. I first observed this at our international church while living in Switzerland and fell in love with the candles and their meaning. Every year I’ve used or remade our wreath, searching for just the right candles each year.
But this year wound up a little different than I expected (there’s that word again). I’d actually prayed a few times over the years for a really nice wreath and candle holder. This year I wanted to find something different. These were simple desires I thought about and left unspoken.
And this is the year that Abba surprised me with a new one. The most interesting part of this story is that I wasn’t the one to find it. My husband did. How’s that for some Christmas humor and delight?
We saw this candle holder in a store and both loved it. I saw it only in the light of a decorative piece for our home. To my surprise, my husband pointed out how well it would work for an advent wreath too! Even the store clerk seemed surprised that my husband mad the suggestion.
My friends, I cherish this new piece in our home not just for it’s beauty and design, but for it’s meaning. The more I study it, the more meanings the Holy Spirit shows me. Now I will look at this candle holder—year round—and see the reminder of God’s love for me in a small detail and how He used my husband to bring it to my attention.
Sometimes our desires and hopes are met in the most surprising ways. I’d expected, looked in one direction. God showed me another one—one I never would have expected or thought of.
I find this faith walk lately to be a delicate balance of holding hope tightly and holding expectations very loosely. I don’t think it’s wrong to have expectations—the Bible even tells us to wait expectantly on the Lord. The challenge is to have ones wrapped in hope and to not hold them so tightly that we miss other possibilities. God is the God of possibilities—He makes the impossible possible.
As I reread the Gospels telling of Jesus’ birth, the Holy Spirit has stopped me at the feet of Luke 1:45.
“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
This verse reminded me of Jesus’ words to Thomas.
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” — John 20:29 (NIV)
As believers we are asked to believe what we haven’t yet seen. To take the step of faith without proof, yet believe it will come. To persevere even when everything around us tells a different story.
Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. — Hebrews 10:36 (NLT)
This verse has taken a place in my recent journal entries and I find myself returning to it frequently. And today I noticed it precedes one of the most powerful parts of Scripture in the Bible.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. — Hebrews 11:1 (ESV)
Before the baby Jesus and our Messiah was ever birthed in the natural realm, He was prophesied and birthed in the spiritual. The Old Testament is the promise, the New Testament is the fulfillment.
Jesus is our greatest example of holding hope, persevering for its revelation (pregnancy), and waiting for its arrival (birth). Christmas is a yearly reminder of His revelations and the revelations to come. And we hold this hope not only for ourselves but for our pre-believers and our families, dear friends.
SUMites, we are blessed because believe the Lord will fulfill His promises to us. We persevere, and though at times we may falter, we continue hold hope in our hearts.