The Third Sunday of Advent - The Shepherd Candle

Tonight on the third Sunday of Advent we gather to remember what Christ said 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."

The first 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.

Last week we lit our second candle, The Bethlehem Candle. We light it again tonight to recall that long ago night in the tiny town of Bethlehem. Luke 2:1-7 recalls the story of Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem and their search for a place to stay. When no suitable arrangements could be found they settled for a simple stable where the Christ Child was born.

Tonight we light The Shepherd Candle and recall the story of the Shepherd's search for the newborn Christ. Luke 2:8-20 says,
"In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. Then the angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, 'Don't be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David. This will be the sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.' Suddenly there was a multitude of heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people He favors! When the angels had left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, 'Let's go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.' They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feeding trough. After seeing them they reported the message they were told about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had seen and heard, just as they had been told."
Father, we thank you for your gift of Jesus to the whole world. As the shepherds found Jesus in a manger, may we find Jesus in the love and joy that we share together. Help us to love one another. Help us to do our share to bring happiness, goodness and peace to the world.

At this point we sing The First Noel and Joy to the World! 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.

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