December 22, 2023

Advent Week Four: The Candle of Love

A devotional for the fourth week of Advent

by Hannah Packard

An Invitation

Come before the Lord in a posture of humility. He delights in you. Let’s delight in Him. Whether you open your hands as a sign of obedience, close your eyes to focus your mind, or kneel to center your heart, draw close to Him as He draws close to you (James 4:8).

Let’s give all of ourselves to the King of Kings.

Read

Luke 2:22–38

Simeon and Anna are two of the few who, at their very first look at Jesus, a month old in Mary’s arms, knew. No angels visited these ones. It was the Holy Spirit, with joy and delight, who whispered to their hearts, This is He. The consolation of Israel, the Lord’s Messiah, the hope of the world—He had come.

Like many before them, Anna and Simeon had waited all their lives to see the hope of the Messiah. And God wanted to share this moment with them, His friends.

We know that Anna and Simeon were friends of God because they had spent so much time before His face, worshiping Him, that they knew Him on sight. What a contrast with many of the Pharisees, who ostensibly knew everything about God and His Law yet looked Him in His face and hated Him.

When I think of Simeon and Anna, I think of their love for God. I think of the hours spent hearing the Scriptures, the time spent in worship, the friendship that they had each built with God. It is one of my greatest desires to know Him anywhere, like they and other friends of God did. Whether He is a pillar of flame or smoke, a burning bush, an uninvited dinner guest, a wrestler, a quiet voice, a stranger on the road, or a month-old infant—I want to know Him.

This is how I imagine they greeted Him that day in the Temple. Simeon and Anna, stroking wrinkled fingers down the petal-soft cheek of God-made-flesh, whispering, “Shalom. I would know You anywhere.”

May our love be the same.

Prayer Prompt

Read Psalm 139 and thank Him for knowing you intimately.

Take a deep breath and get into a comfortable position. Read the passage again and ask the Holy Spirit what He has to say to you today. Listen to His response and let your heart settle.

Lord, is my love for You deep enough that I recognize You where I’m perhaps not used to seeing You? Do I recognize Your hand at work? Draw me deeper into friendship with You. Help me know You more so that my hope can be assured in You. You say, “Seek My face.” May my response always be, “I’m seeking You!” Amen.


To download a copy of Extend Hope: An Advent Guide, click here.

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