Devotion: The Candles of Joy and Love

by / 0 Comments / 179 View / December 18, 2012

“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the Lord, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” (Isaiah 55:12-13)

Supplies: Advent wreath with candles with all candles lit(optional), Lyrics to the songs, Jesus, Lamb of God and Depart in Peace(free downloads of the songs may be found here: http://belovedschurch.org/hope/jesus-lamb-of-god.phpand here: http://belovedschurch.org/hope/depart-in-peace.php).

Opening prayer:

God, hope and love are two things that are misunderstood and abused in our culture and in our lives, particularly in this Christmas season. We thank you for your Son, who reminds us again and again, through the work of the Holy Spirit, that He offers real hope and real love to us. Amen.

Questions:

What are the things that you most look forward to at Christmas? Other times of the year? (Examples: birthdays, vacations, summer break, new movie previews, weddings, graduation, etc.)

What kinds of feelings do you experience in the weeks leading up to these events? The day of? (Anticipation, excitement, joy, nervousness, hopefulness, etc.)

What is your response when something you’ve looked forward to is over? What about when it is less than what you expected?

Say: The third and fourth candles on the wreath are sometimes called the candle of hope and the candle of love. Based on what we see around us during this time of the year, what would you say is the world’s impression of what hope and love are? (based on what you can buy/get, that a good Christmas is based on its extravagance, etc.) When these expectations aren’t met, what do you think people experience? It’s probably no coincidence that studies show that when people experience the “most depressing day of the year,” it comes about a month after Christmas.

When we tie our hopes and expectations into things, presents, people and parties, they are bound to disappoint us. When we base our hope and our identity in earthly things, they will fail. We live in a world that promises a lot false things and we get a lot of mixed messages about true hope and true love (not the romantic kind).

Advent is a reminder to us, that as we light these final candles, as Christians we have been given real hope and real love. We have been given these things in a Savior who has died on the cross for us, defeated death by rising again, and has prepared for us an eternal home in heaven, in which we have a hope that will not be disappointed.

Our Scripture verse is a good reminder of that hope that we experience, as we look especially to the second coming of Christ, “For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the Lord, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” (Isaiah 55: 12-13)

We have a hope that cannot be taken away because we have experienced a love that never fails.

Use one (or both) of the songs listed as the closing prayer meditation.

Jesus, Lamb of God

Jesus, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world.
Have mercy on us.

Jesus, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world.
Have mercy on us.

Jesus, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world.

Grant us your peace.

Depart in Peace

Oh God, as you have promised now let your servants
Depart in peace. Depart in peace.
For our eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared
For all to see. For all to see.
A light to enlighten the world and for your people:
Glory. Glory.

So depart in peace. Depart in peace.

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