Welcome to the first Sunday of Advent!
Advent is an ancient tradition of the church that aims to prepare our hearts for Christmas. The word “advent” comes from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming” or “visit.” In the Advent season, we keep in mind both “advents,” both “visits” of Christ, the first when Christ came to us in Bethlehem and the second when He will come again at the end of the age.
Because Christ has already come to us once and brought light into this world, the white Christ candle has already been lit and will remain lit the entire Advent season. Today we focus on the first purple candle, the Candle of Hope.
Our Advent theme this year is “Faith Like a Child.” This Christmas as we celebrate the kingdom of Christ, Jesus himself said in Mark 10:15, Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.
And so to help us with our reading this morning is… a child. Nat, would you read Romans 8:23-25 for us?
Nat: We have the Holy Spirit as the promise of future blessing. But we also groan inside ourselves as we look forward to the time when God will adopt us as full members of his family. Then he will give us everything he has for us. He will raise our bodies and give glory to them. That’s the hope we had when we were saved. But hope that can be seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? We hope for what we don’t have yet. So we are patient as we wait for it.
This Christmas, you have hope upon hope in Jesus Christ. And like a child who is so excited and looks forward with all the hope for what he will receive at Christmas, may you look forward with faith like a child in the hope of receiving everything that God has given you in Christ Jesus. May this be a faith-filled Christmas!
(Light the 1st purple candle)