Advent candles apparently had their start in Germany, where children would stick a small candle into a decorated orange. Since then, a lot of families and churches have picked up on the idea, some lighting a candle starting December 1 and some starting four Sundays before Christmas Eve. The candles are intended to prepare us for the arrival of the baby.

Candle #1 represents hope. #2, peace. #3, joy. #4, love. Many traditions incorporate a fifth candle representing Christ himself. If you could create a human embodiment of hope, peace, joy and love, that would be Jesus. I think that was God’s point.

Today I’ll muse on hope, on peace next week, followed by joy, then love.

So, here goes. I love the saying, “Everything’s gonna be okay.” To me, that’s hope. It has a basis; it’s not just optimism or a wish. But I suppose a person could balk at my basis, which is faith. Hmm. Well, there’s this. One of the reasons I’m a believer is because of the past, which informs the future. So many prophecies from the Old Testament have already come to pass, so I trust that the ones still to come will happen as well. Plus, I embrace the resurrection narrative and Revelation 22 (a fascinating read). I don’t pretend to understand it all; I just cling to it. Hope sure beats nihilism. It’s worthy of consideration.

It’s like there’s a little flicker of light out there somewhere. Sometimes I almost lose sight of it, but I know it’s still there. I guess you might call it my hope candle.

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