This final week in Advent focuses on love. The highlight of the week is December 25-the day set aside by many Christians to acknowledge and honor the birth of Jesus Christ-Messiah and God’s great gift to the world (Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on January 7th).
The week is marked by heightened anticipation and excitement about the celebrations that Christians will engage in on Christmas Eve and Christmas. Traditionally, both days are celebrated by offering prayers of praise and thanksgiving; singing Christmas carols, gift giving, Scripture reading and/or reenacting the Christmas story, and fellowshipping with family, friends and other Believers.
The Holiday is intended to be a shared experience and every activity, including buying and exchanging gifts and sending Christmas cards, should point to God’s great sacrificial love as manifested in the birth, death and resurrection of our beloved Savior- Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
Exchanging Christmas cards and gifts are expressions of love. Of course, the birth of Christ represents the ultimate act of love in that God Himself became flesh and modeled how we humans ought to live in fellowship with the Creator and in relationship with each other.
Almighty God unto whom all hearts and minds are open and from whom nothing is hidden, thank you for for all things great and small. You are marvelous and gracious, slow to anger and quick to forgive and nurture. Thank you for joy and peace. But most of all, thank you for Jesus, the Author and Finisher of the Christian faith!!!
Passages for meditation during the third week of Advent
- “…Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” (Nehemiah 8:10)
- “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to the Most High. It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening…” (Psalm 92:1-2)
- “This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)
- “Every day I will bless You, And I will praise Your name forever and ever. Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised, And His greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts.…” (Psalm 145:2-4)
- “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17)
- “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 power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
- “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)
- Treat others the way you want to be treated. (Luke 6:31)
- Abstain from arguing. (2 Timothy 2:23)
- Judge your own motives; not the motives of others. (Matthew 7:1-2)
- Avoid gossipmongers and do not engage in gossip. (Proverbs 20:19)
- Seek God’s will about every situation. (Proverbs 3:6)
- Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry (James 1:19)
- Look for and acknowledge the good in each person and every situation. (Philippians 4:8)
Almighty God unto whom all hearts and minds are open and from whom nothing is hidden, please help us practice peaceable living.
- We pray for all those living in and near war-torn countries and for those living in violent ridden communities.
- Please change the hearts of the violent people among us. If they harden their hearts against you by refusing to change their wicked ways, please remove them from our midst so the rest of us can live in peace.
Almighty God unto whom all hearts and minds are open and from whom nothing is hidden, thank you for the hope that is in Christ Jesus.
- Hope for reconciliation.
- Hope for recovery and restoration of self-esteem and dignity.
- Hope for the healing of hurt and disease ridden hearts.
- Hope for the freedom to love and experience the joy of living and for envisioning all the wonderful possibilities life has to offer.
- Hope for an end to terror and terrorism.
- Hope for courage to practice and work for justice and justice causes.
- Hope for a heart that affirms and embraces marginalized people.
In Jesus’ name. Amen
- Advent is the season observed by some Christians to focus on the true meaning of Christmas, the day set aside to acknowledge and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ- whom Christians believe is both God incarnate and the Messiah.
- The Advent season usually lasts four weeks beginning on the Sunday nearest to November 30 and ending Christmas Eve.
- On an Advent wreath containing only four candles each candle usually represents one of the following virtues or themes: hope/anticipation, peace, joy and love.
- When five candles are used the fifth candle represents Jesus Christ-Savior, Redeemer and the only One capable of reconciling humankind to God-Creator.
- Historically, the season was marked by calls for deep contemplation and reflection about spiritual things.
- The gifts given on Christmas or Christmas Eve are suppose to symbolize and remind us of God’s love, sacrifice and great gift to humanity: Jesus Christ. That is why it is not the cost of a Christmas gift that matters. The value of a Christmas gift is inherent in the spirit in which the gift is offered.and received.