November 27, 2022

The Candle of Hope

Advent Devotional—Week One

by Sarah Bourns Crosby

The Christian tradition of Advent is a season of both remembrance and looking ahead, of waiting and stillness. Advent spans the four weeks leading up to Christmas, and the passing of each week is represented by lighting a candle with a specific meaning each Sunday. The light of these candles is symbolic of the light of Christ, which pushes back the darkness. 

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. . . . For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:2, 6

Each devotional includes an Old Testament and New Testament reading along with a Psalm. Additional passages are included for Christmas Eve. Every Sunday during Advent, and on Christmas Eve, meditate on the passages listed, ponder the poem by Sarah, and discuss or pray through the prompt. Whether you use this devotional guide over the dinner table, with a small group, or individually, we pray it will enrich your life in Christ this Advent season. For those who wait, wander, and weep, for those experiencing loss, longing, and love this Christmas—may you come to know afresh that He is with you. 


Genesis 18:9–15, 21:1; Luke 1:26–45; Psalm 27


A poem for those who wait

I am Sarah
Bitter and barren 
Burnt out by this promise that never came
Worn out from waiting
Laughing to hide the aching
Longing for these empty arms to hold a baby
But oh . . .
How could that be? 

I am Tamar
Tired of trying so hard
Pushed away, cast aside
Left with no one to provide
Longing for these wrongs to be made right
But oh . . .
How could that be?

I am Rahab
Used and abused
Body broken, soul bruised 
Working late into the night
Weary, just trying to survive 
Longing for some good to come from this tattered life 
But oh . . . 
How could that be? 

I am Ruth 
Grieved and alone 
Left with nothing, far from home 
Back, breaking 
Heart, aching 
Leaving so much behind 
Longing to start a new life 
But oh . . . 
How could that be? 

I am Bathsheba 
Angry and ashamed 
It was never supposed to be this way 
Years of resentment 
Tears of regret 
Longing for this story to be redeemed 
But oh . . . 
How could that be? 

I am Elizabeth 
Washed up and nearing the end 
Disappointed, again and again and again 
Wanting things to finally change 
Wondering if it’s just too late 
Longing for faith to still believe 
But oh . . . 
How could that be? 

I am Mary 
Overwhelmed and afraid 
Young and small and anything but brave 
I had plans, I had dreams, 
But now everything has changed 
And I don’t know if I’ll have what it takes 

But I do know I’ll trust you anyway. 

Oh Abba, 
Why me? 
Oh Abba, 
How will this be?

The Holy Spirit will come upon you 
And the power of the Most High will overshadow you 
So this child to be born of you 
Will be the Savior of the world. 

For behold, 
She who was said to be barren has conceived 
And she who nearly lost hope still believed 
And she who was worn out from waiting, held a baby 
And she who was grieved, her story was redeemed 
And she who was broken, was honored and healed. 

For nothing 
Is impossible 
With God. 

Blessed is she 
Who believed 
That there would be 
A fulfillment 
Of the promise 
Yet to be seen. 

Blessed are you 
Who still believe 
That there will be 
A fulfillment 
Of the promise 
Yet to be seen.)


What are you currently longing and trusting for with radical hope? What are you believing that you have yet to see? About what have you found yourself saying, “How could that be?” 

Would you now speak, out loud, over your disbelief, doubt, or fear the same words Mary said, “May it be to me just as You say” . . . even if it comes in a very unexpected way?

Sarah Bourns Crosby writes poetry around themes of hope, waiting, lament, love, and God’s faithfulness. She lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband, Paul, and twin sons. You can read more of her work at

Click here to download the full advent devotional by Sarah Bourns Crosby, Love Is Here.

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