The Advent wreath is a circle with no beginning and no end. It is a symbol of endless love and faithfulness. Out of darkness light shines, pointing us in hope to the One who came to overcome the darkness of this world and to be our light in the world to come. We celebrate his great love.
Three weeks ago, we lit the Prophecy candle and remembered those who first spoke the promise of the coming Christ child.
[Light the purple candle that was lit three weeks ago.]
Two weeks ago, we lit the Bethlehem candle, a symbol of the preparations being made to receive and cradle the Christ child who brought us peace.
[Light the purple candle that was lit two weeks ago.]
Last week we lit the Shepherds’ candle, remembering the first in a long line of people who joyfully shared the good news of the Savior’s birth.
[Light the pink candle.]
The fourth candle on the Advent wreath is called the Angels’ candle. It reminds us of the hope fulfilled in the first coming of our Savior and of our continuing hope as we anticipate his coming again. We rejoice in his love.
[Light the last purple candle]
Four candles, burning bright,
chasing away the darkness with light.
Four candles, glowing bright,
The blessing of God, giving new sight.
From the Old Testament
Scripture: Isaiah 7:10-14
10 Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, 11 “Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.”
12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask; I will not put the Lord to the test.”
13 Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
God of angels and sheep, God of the poor and meek, in these days before Christmas, quiet us so we may hear where new life is struggling to be born, slow our rush so we may hear the faint sound of angel wings and the words whispered in love. Open our hearts to the wonder of Immanuel, God with us. Oh, Christ of love, Immanuel, immerse our hearts in hope, peace, and joy. Amen.
From the Psalms
Psalm 24 extols God as the great Lord who founded the earth and whose victorious rule governs history. The earth is the Lord’s. He is the King of glory.
Scripture: Psalm 24
1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
2 for he founded it on the seas
and established it on the waters.
3 Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not trust in an idol
or swear by a false god.
5 They will receive blessing from the Lord
and vindication from God their Savior.
6 Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek your face, God of Jacob.
7 Lift up your heads, you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
the Lord mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is he, this King of glory?
The Lord Almighty—
he is the King of glory.
Dear strong and mighty God, by the power of the Spirit who created the earth and everything in it, create in us pure hearts and renew within us steadfast spirits that the hope fulfilled in Bethlehem may more and more permeate our lives until we share fully in your glory by the power of your love. In the name of the King who comes and comes again we pray. Amen.
From the New Testament
Scripture: Romans 1:1-7
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. 6 And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. 7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Dear God, in the fullness of time you sent the One promised through the prophets who looked forward in hope. You have given us a living hope by raising him from the dead. Your love is shed abroad in our hearts through Christ Jesus. We love you because you first loved us. Enliven our hope in love, as we live in the expectation of your coming and your coming again. Amen.