Today we continue the season of Advent to prepare our hearts for Christmas. In the Advent season, we keep in mind both “advents,” both “visits” of Christ, the first in Bethlehem and the second yet to come. Because Christ has already come once, the white Christ candle will remain lit the entire Advent season, and we have already lit the Candles of Hope and Peace.
Our Advent theme this year is “The Manger’s Missional Mandate.” Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, came from Heaven to Earth on a mission to save the world. At the beginning of His mission, He took on flesh, was born of the Virgin Mary, and was laid in a manger. Every Christmas, the manger is a reminder of the Mission of God, which will not be finished until Christ comes again.
Today we light the Candle of Joy and take our Scripture from John 15:1, 4-5, 11:
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser… 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing… 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
Today we light the CANDLE OF JOY. Our world is a world that lives to experience moments of happiness and pleasure and highs. Humanity searches for the next best thing that promises to bring us joy. The Christmas season itself is filled with many moments of earthly joy, from the twinkling of lights to the gifts wrapped under the tree. But, in the end, any joy this world offers us will be a fleeting and lesser joy. They will not only fade away, but the fail to satisfy us.
Friends, there is only one place, one person, that offers a never-ending, full, satisfying joy, and His name is Jesus. Jesus is the vine, our life-source, and every person who will abide in Him, stay connected to Him, will experience fruitfulness and complete joy.
Here at Christmas, our culture loves to say “Merry Christmas!” If we truly want people to have merriness and happiness and joy this Christmas and throughout the year, then we must work to connect them to Jesus. Receiving the gospel of Jesus leads to a fullness of joy in Jesus.
And so today we light the Candle of Joy. If the world wants joy, let’s strive to give them Jesus where real joy is found. The manger mandates this mission. From our family to yours, “Merry Christmas!”
(Light the PINK candle)