““Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. ”
(1 Corinthians 15:55-57)
Wreath Directions: Light all three purple candles.
Read Aloud: 1 Corinthians 15:51-56
Suggested Carol: Good Christian Men, Rejoice!
Death is never expected.
Sure, you can expect a person to die one day, maybe if they are ill or close to dying, but that actual moment of death can never be predicted. Death is tough. Death is certain. I remember when we buried my paternal grandfather, a man of 84 years who died suddenly. He was picking vines off a tree in back of his townhouse when he slipped and hit his head against his truck. He was unconscious within hours and died soon after from internal bleeding. We knew he was frail already and he had suffered from the early stages of Alzheimer’s, but the phone call announcing his death was startling nonetheless.
Death is tough. Death is certain.
This week’s Advent theme is hope and one hope we have through Jesus’ first coming is the hope of the resurrection. Because Christ was raised from the dead, we who believe in Him will be raised from the dead. Standing in the cemetery the day of my grandpa’s funeral, it was hard to focus on this future resurrection. Death seemed so final then. But Christ has come and given us the hope of our resurrection from the dead when God raised Him from the dead. He conquered death forever and those who believe in Him will one day find a physical resurrection awaiting them.
And this is not a fool’s hope or a maybe. It is an absolute. God promised and He doesn’t break promises. Death is tough. Death is certain. But so is the resurrection.
The grave is not the end of life nor is it the last time we will see our loved ones. Because God in Christ took on flesh and blood, died on the cross, and rose again we will have life eternal and our bodies will be glorified. No more cancer, no more Alzheimer’s, no more heart disease, no more pain — only glory. So let us celebrate this hope. The Hope of Glory.
This week’s prayer is:
“Our Father in heaven, we light this candle to thank You for the hope of salvation that we have in Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. We thank You for His atoning blood, shed on the cross for our sins, and that through His resurrection we might have life in His name. We thank You for the hope found in His first coming and we grab hold of the hope of His return. It is in His holy name we pray. Amen.”