Back in the day, candles or oil lamps were the only way you could illuminate the inside of your house after dark. Candles were a big deal.
Today, not so much. In the age of electricity, only a few uses remain for candles. One of them is for emergency preparations. Disaster relief organizations want all homes and businesses to stash bottled water, blankets, some canned food, and candles and matches in the event that all utilities are disabled or cut off. Candles are part of survival gear.
A sweet, ancient Advent custom is to light a candle each week for the four weeks in the run-up to Christmas. It strikes me that lighting an Advent candle is a reminder that our coming Messiah, Jesus Christ, will help us not only survive the coming judgment but triumph with him.
As you light the first candle, ponder the powerful Christmas reality that our Advent waiting anticipates: Jesus Christ is God himself, come in human flesh to relive your life for you and die your death for you. While you are waiting for Christmas, and waiting for the second coming, rejoice that God is with you. “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).
Let that first candle remind you of the hope that Jesus brings.