Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.
Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
Four 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.
Three Sundays ago, 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.
Two Sundays ago, we lit the Candle of Celebration, which reminds us that, while we have ready for the return of Christ, there is reason to celebrate, for He is – even now –Emmanuel: God with us. He is not only our hope; He is also our joy and song.
Last Sunday, we lit the Candle of Incarnation, which reminds us that the Son of God did not simply appear to man and offer words of hope; no, the Son of God actually became also the Son of Man and offered Himself, the eternal Word, as our hope.
Today, we light the Christ Candle.
The Christ Candle is lit in joyous celebration that He has come. Christ our Savior is born! Today, as a Church family we celebrate His amazing birth together. Our expectation has been realized; our preparation has not been in vain; our celebration is now overflowing; and the incarnation of Christ has brought us redemption. The long-awaited Messiah has come. The Redeemer of all mankind has arrived, and today we rejoice in His coming. He is born! Praise the LORD! Christ is born!
Tuesday 1 January 2013