advent, 3 advent, advent candles

First Sunday of Advent – Hope – November 29, 2020

This year has been like none other.  We have grown weary with words and messages that divide us.  With every phone call announcing death or sickness our hearts grow heavy.  These storms – physical and spiritual – are raging around and within us.  Yet, we will not lose hope.  We will trust God.  The Lord will guide us into better days.

Isaiah 40:27-31

27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
    and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
    and my right is disregarded by my God”?
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
    his understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the faint,
    and strengthens the powerless.
30 Even youths will faint and be weary,
    and the young will fall exhausted;
31 but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
    they shall walk and not faint.

One purple candle is lit.

We light this candle today remembering that Christ is our hope.

We can hold on to hope during times of darkness, weakness, and powerlessness because our hope and trust is in God.  Come Lord Jesus and light our way. 

Congregation:  O Come, O come, Emmanuel

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Second Sunday of Advent – Peace –  December 6, 2020

At times peace is hard to find.  In light of the pandemic, unemployment, and every day stressors, we need it more today than ever before.  Therefore, we look to God to usher in his peace.  Lord send it into the places we reside, work, and play. 

John 14:27

27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. 

Two purple candles are lit.

Prince of Peace, as we light these candles, we ask that you give to us your peace.  Send your peace into our hearts, our homes, our family, our church and our world.  Breathe on us oh Jesus.  Breathe on us again.

Congregation:  O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

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Third Sunday of Advent – Joy – December 13, 2020

If we allow it, the world will steal our joy.  God invites us to look around.  Take in the beauty.  Notice the many gifts of pleasure available to us each day.  It is ok to be happy.  It is good to experience joy. Go ahead, smile, laugh, and celebrate life.  Let us choose joy.

Nehemiah 8:10

10 Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions of them to those for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy to our Lord; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Two purple candles and one pink candle are lit.

Christ you are our Joy.  We see your blessings in the simple things.  Thank you for the gift of birds singing in the morning, a funny text message on a screen, a gentle squeeze of a child’s hand, the variety and tastiness of food, and good conversations shared with family and friends.  Lord continue to fill our days with joy in this life and the life to come.

Congregation:  O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

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Fourth Sunday of Advent – Love –  December 20, 2020.

On this fourth Sunday of Advent we reflect the great Love of God.  God loves us! John 3:16 tells us “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life;” 

What an extravagant gift to us.  A simple thank you is not a sufficient response.  We have to give some love away.

John 13:34-35

34 I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Three purple candles and one pink candle are lit.

We receive Christ and we share Christ.  Let God’s love be contagious, bubbling over, flowing within us and around us.  Until Christ comes again, let us love one another.

Congregation:  O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

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Rethinking Stations of the Cross, Courtesy of United Methodist Communications