In the Christian church we have a tradition of lighting candles each Sunday during Advent, and our first candle was lit last Sunday.
The Advent theme in my church this year is “Out of the Ordinary”; we are sharing the wonder of how God’s love is revealed in the ordinary and how every day, ordinary acts of kindness can break through to the extraordinary.
The first candle is traditionally a candle of Hope. We were presented with a cardboard box; we hoped that there might be something wonderful inside the box. We did find some shiny Christmas decorations, but also some rubbish. But with a little bit of effort, we found the treasure amongst the trash.
Next Sunday our Advent candle represents Love, and our challenge will be changing our mind, or learning something new? How often have you had to learn something new, whether you wanted to, or had to, or change what you thought were well-made plans. Our lives are, and the world around us is, constantly changing and we have to learn new things, and adapt to that change.
We then move to the candle of Joy, and the shepherds pointing to the light of the star and hearing the good news. I am sure that if we listen hard enough, despite all that is going on, we hear of good news.
On the fourth Sunday in Advent, which falls on Christmas Eve this year, we light a candle of Peace and are asked to listen. Listen to what God is saying to us. We are all ordinary people, if we listen and respond, we may do something extraordinary. Mary and Joseph were ordinary people too, and we will remember the extraordinary events that led to the birth of Jesus.
This Christmas-time, may you find some extraordinary treasure in all the ordinary that is going on around you; it may be something from the news headlines, or perhaps a small act of kindness from a friend or stranger shown to you or someone else, seeing a smile on a child’s face, it may just be a treasured personal moment of quiet. Whatever your treasure is, may you find it and may it bring you peace and happiness in this season of Advent and Christmas and into the New Year.