The fourth week of Advent finally brings us close to what we have been waiting for: Emmanuel, God-With-Us. This week we remember that a child born in Bethlehem changed everything. We marvel in the mystery of the Incarnation, where the God of the universe was wrapped in skin. In Jesus, God has come to us as one of us—entering our darkness, saving us from our sin, healing our hurt, and welcoming us into God’s own presence. Christ has come! Come, let us adore him!
This week, read and reflect on this passage from the gospel of Luke 2:1-20
As Advent comes to an end and Christmas approaches, we look at our lives and ask: What is God doing today, here in our midst, too wonderful for our imaginations or our words? What is your hope on this last Sunday in Advent? What extraordinary and grace-filled things have happened in your life, and what extraordinary and grace-filled things may yet happen? Are we willing to say “yes” to what God is doing, even if it means sacrificing our comfort and prosperity? What is our role in the midst of what God is doing? How are we bearing God in this world?
Sometime on Sunday, prayerfully light a candle to mark the beginning of your week. We light a candle and worship Jesus, the Light of the World, who was born to die so we might have true life and who is coming again in power and glory.
This week, you may wish to get together with friends or family over some coffee/tea/hot chocolate/eggnog and read the first two chapters of Luke together. After reading it out loud together, discuss the magnitude of what these moments in the story of Jesus mean to you personally and to our world. As you read the Christmas stories, what do you learn about who God is and who we are as the people of God? Spend some time praying together, thanking God for sending us his Son.
As you dwell on this week's theme, consider listening to some music appropriate to the Advent season. Some of my favorite Advent albums are from Future of Forestry, The Brilliance, Page CXVI, Elizabeth Hunnicutt, Sojourn, Young Oceans, and Kings Kaleidoscope. This week, I'll be listening to the songs "O Holy Night" and "Silent Night" and "O Come, All Ye Faithful" in particular as I approach the mystery of Christmas with reverence to worship Christ the King.
An Advent Prayer:
God, you visited your servants with news of the world's redemption in the coming of the Savior. Make our hearts leap with joy, and fill our mouths with songs of praise, that we may announce glad tidings of peace, and welcome the Christ in our midst. Grant that we also may be bearers of Christ in the world. Amen.