Now that all four candles of our Advent wreath have been lit, I want us to take a moment to look at our wreath and its candles.  As the four candles slowly burn, the ambience they produce is so soft that it’s almost as if you can hear them speaking to you…

The first candle said, “I Am Peace, but these days, nobody finds it worthwhile to keep me lit – violence and destruction reign.”  Then Peace’s flame slowly diminished and went out completely.

The second candle said, “I Am Faith, but these days, people follow their own truth and cannot place their trust in anyone.”  Then Faith’s flame slowly diminished and went out completely.

Sadly, the third candle spoke, “I Am Love and I haven’t the strength to stay lit any longer.  People put me aside and don’t understand my importance.  They even forget to love those who are nearest to them.”  And waiting no longer, Love went out completely.

Suddenly, a child entered the room and saw the three candles no longer burning.  The child began to cry, “Why are you not burning?  You are supposed to stay lit until the end.”

Then the Fourth Candle spoke gently to the little boy, “Do not be afraid, for I Am Hope, and while I still burn, we can re-light the other candles.”  With shining eyes, the child took the Candle of Hope and lit the other three candles.

Therefore, never let the Flame of Hope go out.  With Hope in your life, no matter how bad things may be, Peace, Faith and Love may shine brightly once again.

You may remember this reflection from a few years ago.  It is a good reminder for us once again today, for as the scriptures proclaim: “It is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.  She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”  These are words of great hope from our Gospel today from the 1st chapter of the Gospel according to St. Matthew – sisters and brothers, may the Lord give to you his peace, faith, love, and hope this advent season and always.

Click here to read Fourth Sunday of Advent readings