Editor’s note: This is the first in a four-part series on objects from church that shed light on the spiritual practice of waiting this Advent.  

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it (John 1:1-5).

With the lighting of one candle, Advent begins.

This is the season of waiting and anticipation, the time when we look toward the light in the darkness.

We come to this time filled with hope and longing, remembering the awe and joy of the Christmas story, yet heavy with the weight of the world and our lives.

We come to this time with lives full of to-dos—parties to attend, presents to buy and wrap, cookies to bake, meals to plan, families to call and friends to meet.

We come to this time eager for Christ’s presence. We are eager for Jesus to be born and for him to come again.

With the lighting of one candle, Advent begins.

We’ve been here before—with one candle.

A candle to offer a prayer.

A candle to remember death.

A candle to mark the passing of another year.

A candle to point the way through the darkness.

Each week we will light another candle.

Four candles call us to sit and wait.

Four candles remind us of Christ’s light.

Christ’s light taking us back to the beginning.

Taking us to the Word.

Taking us to God.

Taking us to our beginning and end.

The alpha and omega.

We light a candle and we wait.

Whether in the church building, around the dinner table, or in the silence of your room, light a candle.

Say a prayer.

Sit in the silence.

Offer yourself.

Listen.

Wait.

With the lighting of one candle, Advent begins.

Kimberly Knowle-Zeller
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, Mo. Her website is kimberlyknowlezeller.com.

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