Candle Lighting (2 minutes)
Commonly in Advent, lighting a candle is used to symbolize Jesus as the Light of the World coming into darkness. So, if you’re up for it, find a candle somewhere in your house. (Note: It doesn’t matter what it looks like or smells like. If you’d like, you can also purchase an Advent candle wreath wherever you get your Christmas supplies.)
Once you have a candle, turn off or dim the lights, light your candle, and have one person read the following prayer out loud:
God of Love,
Your Son, Jesus, is your greatest gift to us.
He is a sign of your hope.
Help us walk in that hope during the weeks of Advent,
As we wait and prepare for his coming.
We pray in the name of Jesus, our Savior.
Read this Overview (2 minutes)
Waiting can take a toll and hope deferred for too long can ferment, leaving us in the throes of disappointment, which seems to be the great enemy of hope.
But what if disappointment was an emotional signal from our body telling us that our hope was on the wrong object? Instead of simply being a thief, what if disappointment was actually an invitation to recalibrate our heart, revealing our unhealthy attachments and idols?
Hope, as we understand it in Scriptures, is the expectation of coming good based on the person and promises of God. And in the stories of the Scriptures, we discover that our heritage is of a people who wait—from Abraham to the Prophets, Simeon and Anna to Paul, we find the invitation to not just wait, but to do so with a hope in One who fulfills his promises.
Watch & Discuss (10 minutes)
For the next part of your time, watch the following video from BibleProject:
Discuss the following question together:
- What is one thing that stood out to you as you watched the video?
Read Scripture (10 minutes)
Next, have someone read Psalm 130 out loud and spend a few moments in silence afterwards.
Discussion Questions (15 minutes)
Spend some time working through the following questions:
- What am I hoping for?
- Where has my hope been unmet? Where have I felt disappointment?
- Where do I need help from the Spirit to hope with greater faith?
Practice for the Week Ahead (5 minutes)
For the week ahead, find an object that reminds you about what you’re hoping for. If you’re hoping to be able to see family for Christmas, it could be a picture of them. If you’re hoping for a new bike, it could be your helmet. If you’re hoping for a sunny day tomorrow, it could be flip flops.
Once you’ve picked the thing that represents what you’re hoping for, put it somewhere you will see it often (by your door, on your bathroom counter, in your car, etc.).
Each time you see this item, pause, take a deep breath, and say a quick prayer asking Jesus to remind you of his goodness and for the patience needed to wait for what you hope for.