Today is the first Sunday in Advent, the start of a new church year. It is a time when we think about journeying from darkness into light. We mark this during our service by lighting a new candle every Sunday, with the advent wreath becoming steadily brighter the nearer to Christmas we get.
What does it mean to move from darkness to light? This is the way that Christians describe living a life filled with hope. As Christians we watch and wait for signs of God’s promise to renew the Earth. We look for the ways that God is at work in the world and try to join in with it. Wherever we see justice and peace and well-being we witness the hand of God.
Living in hope means we live expectantly, looking out for the good things that are happening around us and rejoicing when we find them. We also look for the best in other people. When we see the light rather than the darkness, our lives are more joyful, more hopeful.
How do Christians dare place such hope in God? The answer lies in the events we celebrate at Christmas, when we remember God’s gift of his son Jesus. Christmas reminds us that God has already intervened in the affairs of the world – and continues to do so.