The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined.
You have multiplied the nation
And increased its joy;
They rejoice before You
According to the joy of harvest,
As men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
For You have broken the yoke of his burden
And the staff of his shoulder,
The rod of his oppressor,
As in the day of Midian.
For every warrior’s sandal from the noisy battle,
And garments rolled in blood,
Will be used for burning and fuel of fire.
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
Two Sundays ago, we lit the Candle of Expectation, which reminds us that Christ was the One for whom the whole world had waited: the Messiah of Israel, the Redeemer of Mankind. As we longingly await His glorious return and the fulfillment of all God’s promises, we do so in hopeful expectation as His faithful people.
Last Sunday, we lit the Candle of Preparation, which reminds us that before the Advent of Christ, as Israel was being prepared for her promised Messiah, the whole world was being prepared for her expected Redeemer. As we prepare this Advent season, we prepare ourselves for His return.
Today, we light the Candle of Celebration.
The Candle of Celebration reminds us that while we ready ourselves during this season of Advent and look toward the heavens for His return, there is –even now– cause to celebrate. In the midst of the seriousness of the season, we have reached this mid-point: we have lit the third candle. Christmas Day will soon be here!
Today, we rejoice, for in our darkness, the light of Christ shines brightly. Today, we rejoice, for as we await His return, He is yet now Immanuel: God with us. Today, we rejoice, for unto us a Child is born — unto us a Son is given!
Praise the Lord! Praise Him with voices lifted high in joyous adoration! Let us celebrate, today, His first Advent as we ready ourselves for His second.
Sunday 16 December 2012
The Candle of Celebration