Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.
May those who fear You see me and be glad,
Because I wait for Your word.
Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover.
And when He became twelve, they went up there according to the custom of the Feast;
and as they were returning, after spending the full number of days,
the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. But His parents were unaware of it,
but supposed Him to be in the caravan, and went a day's journey;
and they began looking for Him among their relatives and acquaintances.
When they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem looking for Him.
Then, after three days they found Him in the temple,
sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.
And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers.
When they saw Him, they were astonished; and His mother said to Him,
"Son, why have You treated us this way?
Behold, Your father and I have been anxiously looking for You."
And He said to them, "Why is it that you were looking for Me?
Did you not know that I had to be in My Father's house?"
But they did not understand the statement which He had made to them.
And He went down with them and came to Nazareth,
and He continued in subjection to them;
and His mother treasured all these things in her heart.
And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
The 3rd Sunday Symbolizes JOY with the Shepherd's Candle
Joy at the coming birth of Jesus
I amazes me as I read my daily Advent readings from the book Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus by Nancy Guthrie, just how a shepherd was viewed in the culture at the time of Christ's birth. They were the lowliest, the rejected, the unimportant - and yet, God sends His angels, a mass of them, to announce the birth of His Son.
In God's Kingdom what is held as worthy is often seen as unworthy on earth, those who are valued are the meek, the humble, the defenseless, the giving, the ones in need or the ones who are aware of their need. We forget that in America for we value the strong, the proud, the one with the most stuff, the one who feel invincible, untouchable, the one who is proud of his achievements, and ready to be served, expecting to be honored and highly esteemed.
Lord, remind of us our truth worth aside from You. Thank you for looking upon us, in our sinful humble estate and desiring to show us the way to You and a relationship with you. Bless you for Jesus! Thank you for humbling yourself, putting off your glory, taking on our flesh, and joining us to give us the perfect example of a life lived in the power of your Holy Spirit. Praise you for offering us true life, full life, a rich life on earth as you move into our lives, hearts, minds, and bodies and cause us to be your ambassadors on earth until we live with you in heaven.
Truth For Life
In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields
and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly
stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them;
and they were terribly frightened.
But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid; for behold,
I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;
for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior,
who is Christ the Lord.
"This will be a sign for you:
you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
And suddenly there appeared with the angel
a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."
When the angels had gone away from them into heaven,
the shepherds began saying to one another,
"Let us go straight to Bethlehem then,
and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us."
So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph,
and the baby as He lay in the manger.
When they had seen this, they made known the statement
which had been told them about this Child.
And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds.
But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.
The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God
for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.
But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.
You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.
He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.
The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."
"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"
The angel answered,
"The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
So the holy one to be born will be calleda]" style="line-height: 0.5em; "> the Son of God.
Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age,
and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. "For nothing is impossible with God."
"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said."
Then the angel left her.
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart
and with all your soul and with all your might.
These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.
You shall teach them diligently to your sons
and shall talk of them when you sit in your house
and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
You shall bind them as a sign on your hand
and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.
You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
The 2nd Sunday Symbolizes FAITH with what is called the Bethlehem candle
The reminder is of Mary & Joseph's journey to Bethlehem
The 3rd Sunday Symbolizes JOY with what is called the Shepherd's Candle
It reminds of of the joy at the coming birth of Jesus
The 4th Sunday Symbolizes PEACE with what is called the Angel's Candle
The Message of the Angels: "Peace on Earth, God Will Toward Men"
The 5th Candle Symbolizes CHRIST with the Christ Candle
it is lit on Christmas Day for it signifies Christ has come and is coming.
He is the Light of the world.
With the enjoyment of Thanksgiving this past Thursday,
followed by the rowdy football craze and shopping frenzy,
(how very odd we thank God and then run out and go wild on other things),
Advent is an anchoring point in each week
as we prepare our hearts and homes for Christmas.
I pray that you will join me in considering the true meaning of Christmas,
not just on Sunday when you light an Advent candle,
but each day through the month of December and into January
when we celebrate Epiphany (the coming of the wise men).
As we raised our family we ate from our holiday china each night from Thanksgiving until Epiphany.
Eating from nicer plates causes us to reflect upon the difference of this season of celebration.
We gather and light the candles, have a daily devotion
(many reading plans are online or in your local Christian book store or public library).
Then we washed, dried, and re-set the china on the table together.
It brought the family together as we worked, studied, shopped, baked, and all that life included.
It was the anchor for our day and reminded us to invite God into each day and activity,
purchase, gift giving, songs sung, decorations placed, and events attended.
I need not 'do it all' to celebrate,
in fact too many things makes us fractured, unfocused, and weary.
Keep your Christmas season simple and enjoy it throughly for once!
Now our table is set for 2 as our children have homes of their own
but that is all the more reason to celebrate the season. . .
to see God's gift in Jesus,
to consider His gift as the motivation for the using of our gifts,
to give, to share, to care
rather than to do what is 'natural'
to pull in,
to be sad and lonely,
to wait to be called,
to hope to be remembered.
Instead let us follow Christ
who came to serve not to be served. . .
and know His joy!
Truth For Life
And again, Isaiah says,
“The Root of Jesse will spring up,
one who will arise to rule over the nations;
the Gentiles will hope in him."
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope by the