Today we wrap up the season of Advent, which is an ancient tradition of the church that helps to prepare our hearts for Christmas. Our Advent theme this year is “Magnificat” which means to magnify or highly praise the Lord and is what we commonly call the song Jesus’ mother, Mary, sang in Luke 1.
Today we light the Candle of Love and take our Scripture from Luke 1:54–55,
God has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 55 as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.
We read in Scripture that God doesn’t just love. God is love. And one of the ways that God demonstrates that He is love is by making covenantal promises to undeserving people that He will never break. In millennia past, God, for His good purposes, fixed His love upon a people who would come to be known as Israel. He chose them and made a promise to their father, Abraham. He chose them not because they were great, but because God is great. Not because Israel was good, but because God is good. God is abundantly merciful and sovereignly gracious.
Israel faced many enemies and wavered far from God many times, but God’s loving help and loving mercy never wavered and never failed. God’s plan and promise carried forth until Israel gave birth to the ultimate fulfillment of God’s covenant—the birth of the Messiah, the Christ, Jesus, the savior of Israel and the world.
God fixed His love on Israel, but every person, whether Jew or Gentile, who connects to Jesus by grace through faith in Jesus becomes a part of Israel and a recipient of God’s unending, deep covenantal love. For God so loved the world that He gave us Jesus, who is our help and our fountain of mercy. What amazing love!
And so, we light the Candle of love because the fullness of God’s love is expressed in Jesus Christ and experienced through Jesus Christ.
From our family to yours: Merry Christmas! And praise to God in the highest!
(Light the 3rd purple candle)