The advent season begins this Sunday. In many Christian traditions four weeks leading up to Christmas marks a period of preparation for the celebration to come, which is known as advent.

Growing up, what I remember about advent were the calendars filled with candy. Starting on Dec. 1, there was a piece of candy for each day leading up to Christmas. I have to admit most years, we didn’t make it to Christmas before all of the candy was eaten.

So why do we have advent calendars? The truth is advent is a season of looking forward to the birth of Jesus Christ and more importantly what Christ brought to us – hope, peace, joy and love.  

This first week of advent we consider the idea of hope. Biblical hope is not some wishful thinking or overly optimistic belief. It is based on certainty and truth.  

In the time before the birth of Christ, the Jewish people had a hope that God would send the promised Messiah to deliver them. This hope was based on all of the fulfilled promises and prophecy that God had already given them. They were not blindly holding out some wishful thinking that the Messiah might come, but rather they had a certainty that God was going to send the Messiah.

For us today, we have this hope, a confidence that Christ return to earth. This hope is as Hebrews 6:19 puts it, “an anchor for the soul.”  

Traditionally the anchor has been used by artists as the symbol of biblical hope. The hope, certainty that Jesus Christ was and is provides that secure holding point for each of us.  Holding on to Christ as our anchor allows us to both weather the storms of life, and to keep from drifting off from the truths that we are celebrating.  

It is easy to get caught up in the holiday season and lose sight of the reason behind it.  

As we begin this advent season, let me encourage each of you to hold fast to the hope, the anchor that Jesus Christ provides.  

Finally let me leave you with the words of Paul in Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”