The Advent wreath is a circle of candles and even though each candle has a different name, they all in some way represent Jesus the Christ, the light of the world. Light is a dynamic and powerful symbol of the power and presence of God.
Many years ago I toured a mine in Springhill. It was interesting but the most memorable part of it was when they turned out the lights. The guide warned us that it would be pitch-black. I thought I knew what pitch-black would be like, but I was wrong. The complete absence of light, deep in that mine was nothing like the darkest night I ever knew up on the surface.
The lights were out for maybe ten seconds but I can assure you that it seemed much longer and I was certainly happy when the lights came back on.
No matter how little the light is, it defeats the darkness. That’s the whole point of speaking about Jesus as the light of the world. No darkness can overcome it or extinguish the light. A distant light for someone lost in the wilderness is a sure sign of safety, of salvation. For me, light is one of the most powerful and hopeful images for Jesus.
As we get closer to Christmas the light on the Advent wreath grows brighter. Knowing that God’s love for the world is so much a part of God’s character brings a great sense of hope. Knowing that there is a loving and forgiving God means that there is always hope. No matter how dark things seem from time to time in life, people of faith have the hope of God to rest in.