Advent gives us an opportunity to look back on the first coming of Christ, and also look forward with hope to the time when King Jesus will come back to rule and reign over his kingdom forever.
When the Son of Man first came to earth, Israel had been abused by their kings, enslaved by their enemies, and led astray by apathetic religious leaders for generations. They were longing for their promised Messiah King to rise up and lead them as God’s chosen people.
During Advent, we acknowledge that we are just like Israel—heavy with anticipation, and waiting for our promised King to come. However, we can also give thanks, trusting that because Jesus came before, he will come again. Advent reminds us to hope, so that as anticipation builds, our hearts can shake off the heaviness, and take on a posture of joyful expectancy for Christ’s glorious return. Lighting the candles one by one reminds us that though we are waiting, we are waiting with a hope that will one day light the whole world.