Advent is the period of time leading up to Christmas each year. It is a time for reflection and meditation as we prepare for Jesus’ arrival. Each Sunday, we light another candle in an advent wreath. The wreath is evergreen and circular, symbolizing the everlasting love of God, and the candle’s symbolizing Jesus’ soon arrival as the light of the world. Today is the second sunday in Advent. Churches lit the candle of love this week.
December 9, 2012 by F. Richard Garland
“See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. “The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight — indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts.
“But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? “For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fuller’s soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness.
“Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.”
Christmas is intended to be a transforming event, not a lovely interlude in business as usual. What we do in Advent in preparation for Christmas will be our means of getting ready for a new way of looking at life — a new way of living.
The Prophet Malachi speaks of a messenger:
. . one who will prepare the way of the Lord
. . . one who reminds us of the covenant of God
. . . . one who refines and purifies us in faithfulness
How then do we prepare to be transformed by the coming of the Lord?
. . by allowing the light of hope to awaken our spirits?
. . . by making room for the Lord to write the covenant on our hearts?
. . . . by living in gratitude for what we receive in the Lord?
If we prepare ourselves by renewing our covenant with God, then we will be truly transformed as Christ comes again into our lives.
Candle Lighting Liturgy
See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, says the Lord of hosts.
[Here relight the first Advent candle.]
The light of hope has awakened our spirits.
A voice cries out in the wilderness, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”
Renew in us your covenant, O God, that we may be ready for the dawn of your salvation.
We light a second candle to bring light to every darkness, and to guide us in the way of peace.
[Here light the second Advent candle.]
With gratitude for your light, O God, we will prepare to welcome a new birth of your love.
- “Prepare the Way of the Lord,” 207, The United Methodist Hymnal
- “Sanctuary,” 2164, The Faith We Sing
- When Prophets Come