We begin the season of Advent with the lighting of the first candle, representing hope. This hope is based on God’s promises, God’s plans for humanity. The prophet Jeremiah describes the promise to grant David a descendant, the Messiah, who “shall do what is right and just in the land.”
Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians is a prayer of affirmation as well as challenge. He reminds us that Jesus’ greatest desire for each of us is to be blameless in holiness before our God. We do that by increasing and abounding in love for one another and for all. He reiterates that they have learned from him, a devoted follower of Jesus, how to behave. Now, he wants them to try even harder so as to be pleasing to God.
Advent is a time of waiting, anticipation, and preparation. Each week, we light another candle as a reminder that we are to be a light in the darkness—to be the light of God’s hope. The call to be a light to others often involves living in right relationship with one another and all of creation. To be a light in the darkness is also a call to work for justice. God is made flesh in each of us when we act as Jesus did—do what is right and just in the land.
What are some “right relationships” that are a challenge for us in our world today? How do we bring hope, the light of Christ, in the midst of all the darkness? What will we do this Advent to try even harder to be pleasing to God?