During the season of Advent we light candles to symbolize Jesus breaking through the darkness and bringing light to the world. At Glendale Church of the Brethren we have been exploring the stories of Jesus’s birth. We learned about Mary and the expectant hope she and all of Israel had for a messiah. We celebrated Joseph’s obedience in the way that he claims Jesus as his own, and in return how God now claims each of us as His children. Last week we got to celebrate everyone being welcomed into the Kingdom of God, from the outsider magi to the salt-of-the-earth shepherds. What we have discovered is that each of these stories teach us about who Jesus is, and that we are also called to be a part of the story.
So for the four Sunday’s of Advent we have also been engaging a special prayer practice to symbolize the light we bring to those around us. On our Advent table we place a bowl with candles inside. As we sing “O Come, O Come Immanuel”, those who wish come up, light a candle for a prayer request or thanksgiving. As the bowl fills with light we remember that as Jesus is the true light that brings hope, love, joy, and peace to a dark world. But we are also reminded that we can cast our light, as we offer our petitions to God, as we serve one another, and as we faithfully remain in relationship with our loving Heavenly Father.
This Sunday, we will be celebrating with a candle lighting service. Our worship service will begin at the normal time, 10:45am, but after welcome and announcements we will read the entire Christmas story together with Christmas carols throughout, and Interim Pastor, Annali Topf, will provide a short reflection. We want to celebrate Jesus being born, and we also want to remember that we still wait for Jesus to come again. Perhaps it is the outsider magi who are our glimpse of the promise, “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:10-11). Amen.