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Advent: Love

Today we remember Joseph, worn-out traveler and worried husband, doing what is necessary for the sake of his family with the stifling burden of poverty, yet his hope remained certain in the promise of God. There is no room for him, yet he knows to whom he belongs. Hear now this reading from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 2, verses 1 through 4; 

“In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.  All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David.”

On this fourth Sunday of Advent, we light the candle of love as a symbol of Joseph, who, with deep love as a new father, cared for, and provided for his small family, so that the Savior may be born into this world. 

Lord, We give thanks for the Josephs among us, migrating far from home when there is no choice, fiercely devoted to the ones they love, unwavering in their belief that there is room for all in the kingdom of God. We give thanks to You, Lord, for showing Your great love for us through the restorative work of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Help us to love one another, just as You have loved us.


Advent: Joy

Today we remember Mary – innocent and powerful, sacred and scared, worried and waiting as the Savior for all the world grows in her womb. She sings boldly when she might be meek; she bears her role in history with the confidence of a warrior; she is the beginning of a mighty revolution as the proud are brought down and the lowly are lifted up. Hear now these words from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 1, verses 47-55.

“And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, Abraham and to his descendants forever.’”

On this third Sunday of Advent, we light this candle of joy as a symbol of Mary, the one who rejoiced in the Lord, the mother of God, bearer of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Lord, We give thanks for the Marys among us who step out of the roles that society has planned. Those unintended pioneers, determined to do as God asks, fearless and fearfully stepping out in faith, and beckoning us to do the same. We give thanks for our barrier-breaking savior, who became like us to redeem and restore us, and to turn the world upside down. May we continue this work, responding with joy like Mary. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ.


Advent: Peace

Today we remember those who patiently and faithfully wait for the coming of the Prince of Peace, as we read the story of Simeon. Those who anticipated the coming of the Messiah, enduring years of turmoil, captivity, and occupation, praying for the arrival of the one who would bring peace to the world. Hear now from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 2:25-32.

“Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,

‘Master, now You are dismissing your servant in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to Your people Israel.’”

On this second Sunday of Advent, we light the candle of peace as a symbol of Simeon, the one who waited for the coming of the Lord, anticipating the arrival of the Prince of Peace who would be light and revelation for all the world. 

Lord, We give thanks for the Simeons among us who, by faith, patiently wait for transformational peace with the power of Your promise in their hearts. We wait for the fulfillment of Your promise that “mourning and crying and pain will be no more,” that You will bring peace on Earth. Help us to join You in this work, for as we have often sung, “Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me.”


Advent: Hope

Today we remember the prophets of old as we read from Isaiah, a prophet among many who demanded to be heard, who dared to speak of a child to come – the unexpected liberator of the people, the vulnerable incarnation of our God, the redeemer of the world. Hear now from the book of Isaiah 9:6-7

“For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.”

On this first Sunday of Advent, we light the candle of hope, and remember the prophets who, by faith, held onto hope for a day when the long awaited Messiah would appear.

Lord, We give thanks for the prophets among us, who bring to us surprising new visions of hope, who challenge us to think outside the box, who show us a future we never anticipated. This Advent Season with hopeful anticipation, we look forward to the arrival of Christ, “the Word became flesh and lived among us,” the light of the world who overcame darkness. Help us to bear Your light, so that the world may know of Your great love.



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