Tag Archive for: Love

Fourth Week of Advent

FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT, DAY 22

SCRIPTURE

Isaiah 7:10-16
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
Romans 1:1-7
Matthew 1:18-25

The Revised Common Lectionary

We light the fourth candle representing love on this final week of Advent.

GOD SHOWS UP

By Mary Pandiani
Executive Director
Selah Center

The Emmanuel Story
Luke 1:68-79

The Christmas story isn’t only about Jesus’ birth. It also involves all the other characters who make up the narrative of God’s story of Emmanuel – “God with Us.”

Zechariah, a priest for the Israelites, is one of those people. His story includes not believing God when his wife, Elizabeth, tells him after years of trying that she is pregnant with their son. As a result, he is struck mute and cannot communicate again until his son is born, and he names his son John (as in John the Baptist), the cousin of Jesus.


In Luke 1:68-79, the words of adoration and praise come from Zechariah in response to the birth of his son. Zechariah sees the faithfulness of God’s promise as a “new day is dawning” in verse 78. In the darkest places, God breaks through so that we might find ways of peace and freedom.


While I wouldn’t say I was struck mute in 2008 after a difficult decision to leave a position I enjoyed for a number of years. I did lose the voice I once had in people’s lives. I was in a dark place, searching for identity and worth, apart from the vocation that once defined me.


Eventually, I recognized God’s invitation to live into a “new day” of freedom only God provides, not other people or positions. In that place, I began to name the life God has always held for me. My Emmanuel story continues to encourage me today. I have a voice because of the God who is with me, not for any other reason.

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God shows up in light and dark places of our life, whether we recognize God or not. So whatever place you might find yourself during this Advent season, know that the Emmanuel story is part of your story just as it is for me and as it was for Zechariah.

God is with you. Emmanuel.

GOD SHOWS

UP IN LIGHT

AND DARK
 
PLACES

OF OUR
 
LIFE,

WHETHER

WE 

RECOGNIZE

GOD 

OR NOT.

Third Week of Advent

THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT

Day 15

Scripture
Isaiah 35:1-10
Psalm 146:5-10 or
Luke 1:46b-55
James 5:7-10
Matthew 11:2-11

The Revised Common Lectionary

On this third Sunday of Advent, we light the Rose Candle representing joy. This Sunday is also known as Gaudete Sunday (Latin).

The Advent Wreath

By Debora Buerk,
Editor, Here & Now,
Selah Companion

The Advent wreath originated among German Lutherans in the sixteenth century. However, it was not until three centuries later that the modern Advent wreath took shape, thanks to German protestant pastor Johann Hinrich Wichern (1808-1881). Along with Wichern’s wreath came the tradition of lighting candles during Advent worship services. 

Pastor Wichern’s wreath consisted of a large wooden ring (made from an old cartwheel) with twenty small red candles and four large white candles. The small red candles were lit during the week, the white candles on Sundays.

While the form of the Advent wreath changed over time, the tradition of lighting candles during Advent spread throughout Germany and beyond Lutheranism. The Advent wreath expanded into the western Church and took hold in the United States during the 1930s. 

Symbolism. Advent wreaths are circular, representing God’s infinite love, and are usually made of evergreen leaves, expressing the hope of eternal life Jesus brings. 

Hope


Peace


Joy


Love

Within the wreath, four prominent candles represent the four weeks of the Advent season. Collectively, the candles symbolize the light of God coming into the world through the birth of Jesus. 

The colors of the candles have their significance. In the Western Christian church, violet is the liturgical color for three of the four Sundays of Advent. Rose is the liturgical color for the third Sunday of Advent. White is traditionally chosen for the Christ candle to represent the liturgical color for Christmas. 

The centerpiece of the wreath is a white candle, the Christ candle, to represent the arrival of Christmastide. Lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, the Christ candle is the fitting completion of Advent.

Traditionally, the candles stand for the Christian truths of hope (week one), peace (week two), joy (week three), and love (week four). 

The rose candle, lit on the third Sunday of Advent is also known as Gaudete Sunday—from the Latin meaning “rejoice, ye”—represents joy

May this third week of Advent be joy-filled for you.