Christmas Eve or Christmas Day …

jesusChristmas has finally arrived.  If you have been lighting an Advent Wreath in your home, it’s been four weeks since you lit that first candle signifying the hopes of the prophets.  On the second week you lit an additional candle that represented the love that the angels announced to world.  On the third week of Advent you added the third candle (the pink one) that represented the joy experienced by the shepherds and the subsequent believers who have chosen to follow Jesus.  Last week you lit a fourth candle that represented  the peace that was experienced in Bethlehem of that first Christmas Day as God became flesh and began His earthly journey of living among us in a bodily form named Jesus.

Tonight on Christmas Eve or tomorrow on Christmas Day is the time to light a fifth candle … a white candle that is placed in the center of the Advent wreath.  This is the Christ candle … the candle that represents Jesus the fulfillment of the hopes of the prophets, the love announced by the angels, the joy of the shepherds, and the peace (well-being) experience in Bethlehem that day. We can rejoice at His coming; but we can also rejoice in the fact that those who chose to believe in and follow Jesus the Messiah will also experience the benefit of being adopted into the God’s Forever Family … the Kingdom of God. Continue reading

Advent – Week Four – Peace

Many Go to Bethlehem, But —

peace      Do you not suppose that on that holy night long ago, there may have been other shepherds keeping sheep on hillsides who saw no star, heard no voices, took no journey, found no Babe?  One can imagine them:

  •      here are some discussing the price of wool;
  •      here are others so busy amusing themselves with a game that they have no time to look up.

These did not see.  The focus of their eyes, thoughts, and whole selves was downward, not up and out into the vast reaches of God’s eternal skies.  One must busy himself or herself with the nearby, the immediate, the everyday problems at times; but to every life there should come times for looking up, letting thoughts reach hopefully toward One greater than he, letting his or her mind stretch forth in wonder.  Continue reading

Advent – Week Three – Joy

joy     Today is the third Sunday in Advent as we prepare our hearts for the coming of the Christ Child.  If you are lighting the Advent Wreath, relight the first Advent candle, which was the Prophets’ candle, reminding you that the Prophets of old prepared the way by sharing the hope of a Savior to come.

Relight the second Advent candle, the Angel’s candle, the candle of love, which represents God’s motivation for coming as the Christ Child and living among us.  Today, light the third candle, the shepherds’ candle. It was those ordinary folks, people who probably had very little of this world’s goods, that God chose to be the first to know of the birth of the Christ Child.  Let’s listen to the story as Luke records it:

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. Continue reading

Advent – Week Two – Love

loveIf you are lighting an Advent Wreath, relight the first Advent candle, the Prophets’ candle, the candle of hope, to remind us that we must prepare our hearts for the coming of the Christ Child.  Today, begins the second week of Advent, we light the Angel’s Candle.  Luke tells us that the angels spoke to the shepherds who were on the Judean hillside …

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”  (Luke 2:10-11 NIV)

The shepherd’s hearts were prepared because they listened, came to the manger and worshipped Jesus.  Then they went out and spread the Good News of new-born Messiah.  But the angel ministered to several besides the shepherds … Continue reading

Advent – Week One – “Hope”

I need to consider the season of Advent in my life to slow me down and help me appreciate all that was involved in the first coming of Jesus and how we are to anticipate His second coming.  It reminds me that God is faithful, and He fulfills prophecies and plans in His time.

   Advenhopet: week #1The Prophet’s Candle – “Hope”

This is a busy time of year for all of us.  Christmas is in our thoughts, and we find ourselves involved in a rush of activities.  Actually, however, we have not yet come to the season in the Christian Year that is known as Christmas.  We are now observing the season of Advent.

Advent begins the fourth Sunday before the night celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ into this world.  In the early Christian church, Advent was a time of repentance, fasting, and church attendance.  People were trying to prepare themselves for Christmas – for receiving God’s gift of love – the promised Messiah.

Through the centuries customs of Advent have changed. However, Advent is still the season of preparation, the time when we open our hearts and minds to prepare ourselves for new experiences of the Spirit, and new understandings of what Christ’s coming means to our lives. Continue reading