Lighting a candle is a simple yet profound act. It is a testimony to the power of light over darkness. As we light this third candle of Advent, we continue our journey to Christmas. The third candle of Advent is called the Joy candle; as we anticipate Christmas, let us remember the joy felt by those who realized what was happening.
The Word of the Lord as Prophesied by Jeremiah
[Read Jeremiah 31:13b]
I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.
Simeon and Anna, like many other, waited a long time for the coming Messiah, and they were filled with joy when they met the boy Jesus at the temple, but John the Baptist was filled with joy about the coming Messiah even in the womb!
[Read Luke 1:39-45]
At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
And when Jesus was born, the angels declared that it was cause for great joy.
[Read Luke 2:8-11]
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
Scripture reminds us that true joy comes from trusting in God.
[Read Romans 15:13]
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus Christ is the true answer for hope, peace, and joy in this season and for eternity.
You can find several more years of Advent readings here. Please feel free to use these Advent readings in your church. Our worship team leader Andy Bradshaw put together this Christmas Advent 2016 reading using a variety of resources, taking bits and pieces from several websites as well as combining those ideas with his own original thoughts.