Today we begin our season of Advent, which is the Christian season of preparation for Christmas. The word “advent” comes from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming” or “visit.” 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 to us once and brought light into this world, the white Christ candle has already been lit and will remain lit the entire Advent season, signifying the light of Christ that shines brightly today.
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, and that mission will not be finished until Christ comes again.
Today we light the Candle of Hope and take our Scripture from Matthew 12:15-21:
15 Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed him, and he healed them all 16 and ordered them not to make him known. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: 18 “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles. 19 He will not quarrel or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets; 20 a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory; 21 and in his name the Gentiles will hope.”
Today we light the CANDLE OF HOPE. The world has only one Savior, Jesus Christ. There is no other name under Heaven by which man can be saved. Therefore, the world has only one hope, the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are people all over this planet who need to hear that Jesus saves, and God has given the task to us to spread this hope.
But let us never forget that there are men, women, boys, and girls right here in Alvaton, in Bowling Green, in Scottsville that need to hear the gospel again and some even for the first time. God has placed you here for a reason, and that reason is to be missional, to spread the hope of Jesus Christ wherever you go, day in and day out. The manger mandates this mission.
And so we light the Candle of Hope. May we spread hope of Jesus to fulfill the manger’s missional mandate. From our family to yours, “Merry Christmas!”
(Light the 1st purple candle)