Lighting the 4th Advent Candle - December 20, 2020

Video Call to Worship - The Fourth Sunday of Advent

Today we continue our celebration of Advent.  Each Sunday leading up to Christmas, we will rejoice in the gift that is ours in Jesus Christ.  
In celebration, we will be lighting the candles of the Advent wreath.  
The candles signify that Jesus is the Light of the World.   
The evergreens remind us that He is life and brings life to us.   
The candles are arranged in a circle because life in Christ has no end.
Each Sunday we will light an additional candle.  
After Christmas, we will light all the candles, including the center one, the Christ candle.  
We will rejoice that Christ has come to us.
Today we light the candle of Love.
Isaiah 9:7 - Christ will rule with goodness and justice.  The strong love that the LORD All-Powerful has for his people will make this happen!
On this fourth Sunday of Advent, as we think about the coming of Jesus Christ, we light the candle of love. 
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us! (1 John 3:1)
This is how God showed His love: 
He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. (1 John 4:9)
A new command I give you: Love one another.   As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  All men will know that you are my disciples 
if you love one another.  (John 13:34-35)

Leader:  We llight this candle as a symbol of Christ the Way. 
All:  May the Word sent from God through the prophets lead us to the way of salvation.

Leader:   May the Love of Christ fill our hearts and minds
All:  May we be found faithful to His commission on the Day of our Lord's glorious return.

Heavenly Father, the whole meaning of Christmas can be explained in one little four-letter word…LOVE.  You sent your gift of love to us that first Christmas.  Love lay in the scratchy hay of a manger in a meager stable in Bethlehem. 

Your love was robed in the delicate skin of a baby and wrapped in swaddling clothes.  This final week of Advent helps us to reflect on the magnitude of love that was made manifest in Jesus.

The greatest gift of all came that first Christmas . It wasn’t wrapped in a beautiful package and set under a decorated tree.  The greatest gift came wrapped in the flesh of baby Jesus and laid in the rough wood of a manger.  

That perfect gift would later be rewrapped in the scars of our sin and nailed to the rugged wood of a cross on Calvary, all because of love.  Father, this final week of Advent, fill our hearts and minds with the significance of that truth.  Thank you, Lord, for loving us enough to send Jesus.  

In Jesus’ name we pray.

1 Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem in Judea during the time when Herod was king.  After Jesus was born, some wise men from the east came to Jerusalem.
2 They asked people, "Where is the child that has been born to be the king of the Jews?  We saw the star that shows he was born.  We saw it rise in the sky in the east and have come to worship him."
3 When King Herod heard about this, it upset him as well as everyone else in Jerusalem.
4 Herod called a meeting of all the leading Jewish priests and teachers of the law.  He asked them where the Christ would be born.
5 They answered, "In the town of Bethlehem in Judea, just as the prophet wrote:
6 'Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, you are important among the rulers of Judah.  Yes, a ruler will come from you, and that ruler will lead Israel, my people.' "
7 Then Herod had a private meeting with the wise men from the east.  He learned from them the exact time they first saw the star.
8 Then he sent them to Bethlehem.  He said, "Go and look carefully for the child.  When you find him, come tell me.  Then I can go worship him too."
9 After the wise men heard the king, they left . They saw the same star they had seen in the east, and they followed it.  The star went before them until it stopped above the place where the child was.
10 They were very happy and excited to see the star.
11 The wise men came to the house where the child was with his mother Mary.  They bowed down and worshiped him.  Then they opened the boxes of gifts they had brought for him.  They gave him treasures of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
12 But God warned the wise men in a dream not to go back to Herod.  So they went home to their own country a different way.
The Glory of Christmas - Ray Brosius - The Wise Men