By Amy Thompson
Advent is the season of the church in which we prepare our lives for the coming of Christ. Growing up, my favorite part of Advent was placing our advent wreath with its three purple candles and one pink candle next to our nativity scene. In the four weeks leading up to Christmas, we would read stories and scripture related to the themes of hope, peace, joy and love.
As a child, my interest was in the stories, but now as I think of these themes, I wonder do we really understand how these themes help us live and prepare for the coming of Christ. Often times the distractions of the world interfere with our ability to experience and live into these themes. How can we carry the message of hope, peace, joy and love into this broken world that we live in?
I invite you this Advent season to reflect on each quote for that week of Advent. As you include this in your daily meditation or prayer time, consider how you can live out hope, peace, joy or love in that given week.
First Week of Advent: Hope
God welcomes us with whatever degree and quality of hope possible for us…When we anchor our hope in God’s steady love and good plans for us, hope becomes a permanent part of us. We have hope not because we are powerful or smart or resourceful but because of who God is. And as we test our hope by acting on it, we release God’s power into our circumstances.
- Mary Lou Redding, While We Wait
Second Week of Advent: Peace
Dear Jesus, during this day help me quiet all the thoughts that fill my head—where I must go, who I must see, and what I must do. In their place, give me a sense of your order, your peace, and your time… I give all my tasks to you and trust you to bring order to them.
- Patricia F Wilson, Quiet Spaces
Third Week of Advent: Joy
O God whose mercy is upon generation after generation, fill my spirit with the joy of your Spirit! Grant me the gift of joyous expectation, seeing you coming in a million ways and responding with blessing, with leaping, and with joy.
- Marjorie Hewitt Suchocki, The Upper Room Disciplines 2000
Fourth Week of Advent: Love
There is one task only: the task of love. We are called by God to live this life with love for everyone. All that we do can be an expression of God’s love. However mundane the task, perform it with a generous spirit and grateful heart. The most insignificant task performed with love is tribute to God.
- Christopher Maricle, The Jesus Priorities: 8 Essential Habits
Advent is a season of preparation. Prepare your heart, mind and spirit this season. Prepare yourself to share the great news of hope, peace, joy and love that is evident through the birth of Jesus Christ. Prepare to show this message through your words and actions with those you meet each day.