But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. Micah 5:2
Bethlehem Candle: Faith
As I researched the meanings of the advent candles, I found some differences—based on faith traditions—in the second and fourth candles. The second candle lit during the Advent season can represent either faith or love. In some traditions, the second and the fourth candle (representing peace) may be interchanged.
Whether faith or love, the second candle is called the “Bethlehem Candle” and reminds us of the promise made in Micah that another ruler would come from Bethlehem, the birthplace of King David. It also reminds us of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem where Jesus was born.
It took faith for Mary to receive the word of the angel about her pregnancy by the Holy Spirit and the coming birth of her son. It took faith for Joseph to receive the word of the angel to take Mary as his wife, even though she was pregnant with a child not belonging to him. It took faith for Mary and Joseph to make the journey to Bethlehem because of a governmental edict so late in her pregnancy. It took faith for Mary and Joseph to raise Jesus according to the laws of the God they worshipped and trust the promises made by the angels. (See Luke 1:26-38, Matthew 1:18-21, Luke 2:1-7)
The world of Mary and Joseph was in turmoil. They lived under the oppression of a military power, their people were heavily taxed, and their faith, even though tolerated by authorities, was considered odd because they worshiped only one God, rather than the plethora of gods in the culture of that day. But they trusted God and continued following him according to the traditions of their faith. (See Luke 2:21-24, 39-40)
The candle’s purple color symbolizes the preparation for the coming king, Jesus, as foretold by the angel to Mary. (See Luke 1:32-33) During this second week of Advent, we anticipate not only the birth of Jesus, but the return of Jesus, when he comes to reign and set all things right. There’s so much that this promise entails. In fact, descriptions of what it means fill the entire Bible and is summed up toward the end of the last chapter. (See Revelation 21:1-5) Let’s look forward with faith and with the joyous expectation of the season.
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Revelation 21:5
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. Matthew 21:21
A Christmas song to stir our faith during the season: O Little Town of Bethlehem
Grace and Peace