Advent is about the coming of Christ. The focus of this series is on preparing the way for Christ and his Kingdom to come in your life and the lives of those around you this Christmas season. We plan to do that through focusing on four themes or gifts from God: Hope, Love, Joy, Peace. Each week, the sermon will focus on how you can eliminate distractions and allow God’s Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace to saturate your life. In allowing it to saturate your life it then begins to flow out into the lives of others. Therefore, the second focus of each week’s sermon will be on how the Hope, Love, Joy, or Peace of God can flow out of your life and saturate the lives of those around you. By these gifts from God saturating your life, the Kingdom of Christ comes into your life this Christmas. The word of God becomes Flesh and dwells among you. Additionally, when you seek to allow these gifts to flow out of you and be given to other people, the Kingdom of Christ then comes into those people’s lives this Christmas and therefore ADVENT truly happens in our lives, church, community, and world!
We will be uploading each week's devotional for you to use and share. Just follow the links below and enjoy!
Week 1: Hope
As our days grow shorter and our nights darker, with earthly signs we remember the promises of God. Evergreen branches that symbolize eternal life. Candles lit that symbolize light in darkness. A circle wreath that symbolizes God's never ending love. On the first week of Advent we light the first purple candle of the Advent wreath. This is called the "prophets" candle. Many prophets told of the HOPE that was to come for the isrealites and for you and me. This Hope was coming through the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior.
Prayer: Oh God, rejoicing we remember the promise of your son! As the light from this first candle brightens our day, May hope of our savior brighten our way and guide our paths to you. May Christ our savior bring light into the darkness of our world and to us as we wait in expectant Hope for his coming. We ask this through Christ our lord. Amen!
Week 2: Love
Last week we began advent by acknowledging that as our days are shorter and night darker, our paths' are illuminated by Christ's Light. We remembered with earthly signs God's promises-evergreen branches that symbolize eternal life. Candles lit that symbolize light in darkness. A circle wreath that symbolizes God's never ending love.
Today, we continue our advent journey, by lighting the second advent candle, The candle of LOVE or Mary and Joseph's candle.
There is no love like a parents' love for their child. It was with this love that our heavenly father sent his son, Jesus Christ to be born as a child and live among us. God, our heavenly father, wrote us a love letter and sent it to earth to dwell among us. His name is Emmanuel!
Prayer: Emmanuel, As we continue on our advent journey, may your hope be among us. May your love dwell within us. Heavenly father, thank you for your love that rained down on us through the gift of your son. May we never forget the way you made for us through a manger so that we might come to know your love. Amen.
Week 3: Joy
The last two weeks we have journeyed together through advent remembering God's promises of Hope and Love. We have seen the earthly symbols of the evergreen branches the represent everlasting life, the circle wreath that represents God's never ending love, and the light of the candles that represents the illuminating of Christ in the darkness of life.
Today we continue our journey with the Shepherd's candle or the candle of Joy! The shepherds were doing one of the most lonely and depressing jobs, they were tending sheep all by themselves out in the fields. They were considered lowly, and no one would talk to them. But God sent the most heavenly beings, angels, to bring them news of joy! Christ was coming to them! When we need joy, God brings us joy. Today we light the Shepherd's candle remembering that our joy comes in the form of Jesus Christ!
Prayer: Joy of Life, All joy abides with you God, and it comes down from you and embraces us mind, body and soul and when this joy has seized us it spreads. In these moments of life, bring us joy everlasting. May it saturate us and flow out of us to that we may bring your joy to others. Amen.
Week 4: Peace
Throughout our advent season we have journeyed together remembering the symbols God gives us this advent- a circular wreath reminding us of God’s never ending love for us; evergreen branches to remind us of everlasting life through Christ, and the light of the candles to remind us that it is the Light of Christ that shatters the darkness.
We have lit the candles of Hope, Love, and Joy to remind us
that God brings us these gifts of Hope, Love and Joy through the gift of his
son, Jesus Christ.
Today we light our final two candles-the candle of Peace and the Christ candle.
The candle of peace or the angels candle, reminds us of the verse in Luke 2 that states “Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace to men on whom his favor rests”. God’s favor rests on all those who know him through his son Jesus Christ. We receive peace through Emmanuel-God in flesh, Jesus Christ.
It is only through, Emmanuel, or God in Flesh-JESUS CHRIST that we experience God’s Hope, Love, Joy and Peace. So today, we light our final candle, the Christ Candle celebrating Christ’s birth.
You are the God above us all…
You are our rock who will not fall..
You are our hope and holy one.
We thank you for the Hope, love, and joy that you bring us.
Today, as we journey together in advent, bring us your peace.
May your peace reign in our lives as we celebrate the advent of you this week and may you come not only in celebration but may your kingdom come in our hearts and lives this week and in the days, weeks, and months to come. Amen.