Our first Advent text of this year was from Luke 1:80, “And the child grew and became strong in the spirit . . . ” Being someone who is about God business calls for us to be strong and brave. Jesus grew strong others from God’s word grew strong. Advent is a time to remind us to be strong and mature and ready to serve as God calls us as well. Redemption is hard work. Letting the world know of the Redeemer is hard as well.
Our second Advent text was from Luke 2:8-10, “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lor appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.’” We are all wanting and looking for peace, in our lives and in our world. While this night will not find peace everywhere, it surely holds that promise.
Our third Advent text was the same as the second week. We looked at the angels who are part of the Christmas story. Angels have always been God’s messengers. They deliver important announcements throughout the Bible. This night we are reminded that we are also messengers of the Christmas message. We too proclaim peace and hope to our world. At this time of the year we are called to be His angels.
Our final Advent text was John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him would not perish but have eternal life.” Everyone loves gifts. Most important events are occasions for giving and receiving gifts. Weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations are all marked be sharing of presents. No less important are the presents of Christmas. We not only give and receive presents ourselves, but we are the recipients of the greatest gift ever given to us. The gift of a savior.
Tonight we gather to light the final candle in our Advent wreath. It is the Christ candle, the center candle. All other candles lead us to this moment. John 1 proclaims, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” In the midst of gifts, angels, peace, and mature, brave workers for the kingdom stands the One. The focus of this night is on Jesus, born in a stable, laid in a manger, visited by shepherds and wise men. As we light the final candle are thought are turned to a “Baby Who Changes Everything.”
[light center candle]