A week has passed in this beautiful season of anticipation and waiting. Today we find ourselves at the second Sunday of Advent.
Last week we lit our first candle, The Prophecy Candle. Tonight we light it again and remind ourselves of the symbolism it represents. Long, long ago the prophets foretold of a coming Messiah. Isaiah 9:6 tells us that a child will be born and His name will be Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 7:14 went on to tell us that the Lord Himself would give us a sign: A virgin will conceive and have a son. His name would be Immanuel.
This week we also light the second candle, The Bethlehem Candle. We light it to recall that long ago night in the tiny town of Bethlehem. Luke 2:1-7 recalls the story of a decree being sent out from Caesar Augustus that the whole empire needed to register. Joseph and a very pregnant Mary set out from Nazareth in Galilee and traveled to Bethlehem in Judea.
Once they were there they found the town to be filled to bursting with people. Though Joseph looked high and low he had no luck finding suitable accommodations. Finally an innkeeper took pity on them and offered his humble stable for the couple. Before the night was through Mary gave birth to her firstborn Son. She wrapped Him up snugly and laid Him in a feeding trough.
One day that tiny Baby would grow up and live a sinless life only to be crucified for us all. Three days later He would conquer death and then make His way to the right hand of the Father. Until then we cling to the hope of His words in John 8:12, "I am the light of the world, he who follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
Father, help us to see those around us and recognize those in need. Thank You for the friends and strangers that You have put in our path. Help us to remember to extend hospitality to those who are lonely or afraid or just plain weary. You have done so much for us may we extend that same compassion to others.
At this point we sing O Little Town of Bethlehem and Silent Night as we close our evening together.
It is our hope that your family will join ours in rejoicing in the real reason for the season . . . it is Jesus the true Light of the World.