Worship

The Candle of Hope

The Candle of Hope

It has been almost two years since COVID-19 disrupted our lives. It has been a long wait for this virus to leave and let us be!

The act of waiting is not an easy task, and may cause anxiety and restlessness. However, waiting is part of life, and can foster patience—to think through what is going on and perhaps discern what is good, better or best, and be ready for when the waiting is over.

There are four Sundays of Advent before we celebrate Christmas. But by the time we hit November, we begin to see Christmas decorations in the malls and even hear some carols played. The Christmas spirit comes rushing with a calendar of carolling, social gatherings, shopping, makan and other celebrative events. But this year, with COVID-19 restrictions, these Christmas activities have to be put on hold. We have no choice but to wait.

Can we make space for Advent first? Can we put our carols on hold too and sing Advent hymns at least during the two Sundays of Advent? There are many beautiful Advent hymns that teach us the themes of waiting, anticipating, hope, patience, to watch and be ready, prepare, in light of waiting for Christ’s first coming (Christmas) and His second coming (the Parousia).

If you observe the practice of lighting the Advent Candles and the Christ light, may I suggest this hymn by Rev Carolyn Winfrey Gillette?

On the first Sunday (of Advent), we sing the first stanza and light the candle of hope that reminds us that in our waiting for the uncertain future, we should not be afraid. Christ will make all things new. In waiting, there is hope.

On the second Sunday, we light the candle of peace. The world faces the issues of racism, disagreement in political and economic ideologies, global warming and war. Do not fret! God’s peace will reign.

On the third Sunday, we light the candle of joy. It reminds us of Mary who, when she learned of God’s favour, sang and remembered that the Lord will empower the lowly and humble the proud.

On the fourth Sunday, we light the candle of love. This stanza proclaims, “God so loved the world that he sent His only Son” for us, sinners!

On Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, we light the Christ candle that reminds us that Christ is the light of the world. It calls us to do our part to go out and tell the good news to the world.

We sing knowing that the wait may take long, but in waiting, there is hope, joy, peace and love. There is a bright future ahead. The wait is worth it.

The Candle of Hope

A hymn for the lighting of the Advent candles

The candle of hope we light in this hour

Proclaims that the Lord is coming in power.
We wait for a future, now hidden from view,
When Christ in his glory will make all things new.

The candle of peace shines bright with God’s plan;
The wolf will lie down and dwell with the lamb.
Our guns and our weapons, our hatred and war,
Will give way to gardens that heal and restore.

The candle of joy reminds us to sing,
For God is at work to do a new thing.
The proud will be humbled; the lowly will rise.
God’s kingdom is one of delight and surprise.

The candle of love tells what we are worth:
God loves us so much, God came to the earth!
An angel brought news of a child who would be
The one who would save us and set us all free.

The Christ candle’s light that shines for us here
Tells out the good news that God has come near!
God came, a poor baby, in one time and place,
To show all creation the wealth of God’s grace.

 

Biblical references: Matthew 24:36–44, Mark 13:24–37; Isaiah 11:1–10; Luke 1:68–79; Isaiah 2:4; Luke 1:46b–55; John 3:16–17; Luke 1:26ª38; Matthew 1:18–25; Luke 2:1–20; John 1:1–14; Titus 3:4–7
Suggested tunes: LYONS (“O Worship the King”, UMH 73), HANOVER (“Ye Servants of God”, UMH 181) or CHU LEONG by Dr Lim Swee Hong (you may request a copy from the Methodist School of Music).
Text: Copyright © 2015 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.

Judith Laoyan-Mosomos is the Director for Worship and Church Music at the Methodist School of Music, and a member of Kampong Kapor Methodist Church.

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