Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Lighting of the Fourth Candle: Waiting for the Son

Mark Roberts@ covers the Fourth Sunday of Advent

[Re-light two purple candles and the pink candle.]

This Sunday: We Remember the Meaning of Advent

Advent is a word that means "coming" or "visit". In the Christian season of Advent we prepare for the "advent" of Christ at Christmas. Our preparation includes many things:

• We remember Israel's hope for the coming of God's Messiah to save, to forgive, and to restore them.

• We remember our hope for the second coming of Jesus.

• We remember our need for a Savior to save us from our sins.

• We prepare to welcome Christ at Christmas into our world . . . and into our hearts.

By lighting one candle each week of Advent, we help ourselves to get ready for the birth of Jesus. So far we have lit three candles. The first reminded us to wait for God our Shepherd. With the second we asked the Lord to come and forgive our sins. The third, pink, candle signified our joy as we wait.

Today we focus on the coming of the Son -- the son of Mary, the Son of God!

A prayer for God's Help

Dear God, thank you for this season of Advent that helps us to prepare for the coming of Christ at Christmas. As we read the Bible and light a candle, may excitement for Christ's coming burn in our hearts. Amen.

Scripture Readings

Psalm 89:1-4, 19-37, 46-52

This psalm celebrates God's covenant with David and with the descendants of David. He even calls God "my Father" (vs. 26). But the psalmist composed this psalm at a time when God's blessing upon Israel seemed very far away. He calls upon the Lord to remember his covenant to David.

Isaiah 9:1-7

Deliverance will come for God's people through the "son" who is given to them. He will sit on the throne of David and his kingdom will last forever.

Luke 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel announces to Mary that she is pregnant and will give birth to a son. Her son will also be "the Son of the Most High" and will sit on the throne of David. He will be the reigning Son of David and the divine Son of God!

Lighting of the Candle

[As someone lights the final purple candle, the following should be read or paraphrased. If you're doing this online, click on the wick of the final purple candle.]

We light this candle because we look forward with eagerness to the birth of a child, the son of Mary and the Son of God! The purple color reminds us of how serious we are in looking forward to the Son's birth.

Prayer of Hope

Dear God, as we light this candle, we look ahead with hope to the birth of your Son -- the Son of David, the son of Mary. May we be prepared to welcome him with open arms and open hearts. O come now, Son of David! Amen!

Closing Song

[To be sung to the tune of "O come let us adore him" from "O Come All Ye Faithful."]

O come now, Son of David,
O come now, Son of David,
O come now, Son of David,
Christ the Lord!

No comments: