Here are the thoughts that I presented as the devotional at Grannie Annie’s Kitchen for the 4th Sunday in Advent. The Scriptures were Micah 5: 2 – 6, Hebrews 10: 5 – 10, and Luke 1: 39 – 55. We will be continuing the devotions after Advent is complete.
Four Saturdays ago, we began lighting the Advent Wreath, candle by candle. Today, after lighting the candles of Hope, Peace, and Joy, we will close the circle by lighting the candle of Love. The circle is complete and the wreath will be finished on Monday when we light the Christ Candle in the middle.
There is always something special about circles, the geometric object with no beginning and no end. You can pick a place to start but when you are done you are where you began. If Advent is the season of preparation of the coming of Christ, it means that we have that opportunity to begin again, to start over, refreshed and renewed.
In a world that seems so bent on continuing the old ways, of trying things that haven’t worked in the past, we have the opportunity to try new things. This journey of Advent has been especially trying for many people this year. In a journey that was meant to focus on the birth of a single child, violence and death struggle to take us away from that focus.
But we hear the words of the prophet Micah who speaks of the child that will be born in Bethlehem and whose birth will signal a new time for the people of Israel, for all people. It will be a new time with a safe home. This child will be the Peacemaker.
This child will be a shepherd, protecting the flock. He will not be the mighty warrior many people expected, to lead an army and overthrow the occupiers of the land.
In the Gospel reading for today, Mary speaks of the child that she will bear and how the world will change because of his birth. She speaks of the poor sitting down to a banquet while the rich are left out in the cold, of how the downtrodden and forgotten will be lifted up from the mud. It will be through God’s mercy that the world will change.
In the Book of Hebrews, the writer points out that Jesus offers a new plan, a different way, and not just a continuation of the old. The ways of the Old Testament have been found wanting, of being incomplete. The Coming of Christ offers a new plan, a new way, a way of making life complete.
But will we change because Jesus was born? We have this wonderful opportunity to change our lives, to get away from the old ways, the ways that speak of greed and selfishness, of violence and destruction, of oppression and move towards what this Advent wreath represents, Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love.
That is why the Advent wreath is a circle and why lighting the candle of Love makes it complete. All that is left is to light the Christ Candle on Christmas Eve and bring Christ into your heart.
So we light the fourth candle this morning, the candle of Love. The journey of Advent is complete; our journey is just beginning.