Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church Message for Sunday:
‘Advent: Rejoicing in Light of the Lord’
© December 24, 2017, by Steve Mickelson
Announcements and Call to Worship; Prayer
Opening Hymn #108: The First Noel, the Angel Did Say;
Christmas Hymns (from the Hymnal)
Prayer and Tithing: Hymn #572: Praise God from Whom All Blessings;
Responsive Reading #627 (The Savior’s Advent – Luke 2); Prayer
Message by Steve Mickelson: ‘Advent: Rejoicing in Light of the Lord’;
Lighting of the 4th Advent Candle and the Christ Candle
Let us pray …
Welcome to Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church’s Sunday Praise and Worship Service for December 24, 2017.
Today we will light the fourth Advent Candle, lit on the fourth and final Sunday before Christmas. This candle is commonly called the Candle of Peace.
Advent Season is where we observe on each of the successive Sunday before Christmas, the events foretold in Scripture, including the birth of the Christ child, Jesus. Jesus came to be the world’s Messiah or Christ, who was anticipated by humanity and promised by God. Over the last three Sundays, we studied in Scripture how God revealed to the prophets, the Magi, as well as to Mary, Joseph, and the Shepherds the birth of Jesus. God revealed the event by way of Devine Prophecy, dreams, visitations of angelic messengers, and a star in the heavens. Each Advent Sunday, we lit a candle and read appropriate verses.
Though worshipers may vary the order of the designation or name of the four Advent Candles, which is really not as important as acknowledging that, after the four Sundays of Advent, that Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem to complete God’s covenant. The Advent and Christ Candles, all remind us that Christ came to bring light into a dark world, filled with sin. Let us review the order of Advent candles lit here at BLCF over the last month, what they represent and one of the verses that we read for each respective Sunday:
1st Sunday of Advent which represents our Hope in Christ – we lit the Prophets’ Candle and read Romans 15:12-13 (ESV):
12 And again Isaiah says,
“The root of Jesse will come,
even he who arises to rule the Gentiles;
in him will the Gentiles hope.”
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
2nd Sunday of Advent which represents our Faith in Christ – we lit the Bethlehem Candle and read Luke 3:4-6 (ESV):
4 As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,[a]
make his paths straight.
5 Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall become straight,
and the rough places shall become level ways,
6 and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”
Footnotes: a. Luke 3:4 Or crying, Prepare in the wilderness the way of the Lord
3rd Sunday of Advent which represents our Joy in Christ – we lit the Shepherds’ Candle and read Luke 2:7-15 (ESV):
7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.[a]
The Shepherds and the Angels
8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”[b]
15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”
The lighting of the 4th Candle of Advent
Today we light the 4th Candle of Advent, representing the Candle of Peace or God’s Love. Let us reflect upon the verse John 3:16-17 (ESV):
For God So Loved the World
16 “For God so loved the world,[a] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
Footnotes: a. John 3:16 Or For this is how God loved the world
Since today is not only the 4th Sunday of Advent, it happens to also be Christmas Eve, when a 5th candle, called the Christ Candle is traditionally lit.
The 5th Candle: Christ Candle (John 8:12)
On Christmas Eve, we will light the Fifth Candle or Christ Candle and reflect upon the following significant aspects of the Lord Jesus Christ:
Jesus is our light, Son of God and son of man; the King of kings.
Jesus is our hope; he died a man and rose from the grave; the highest Priest of priests.
Jesus is our peace; he brought us our salvation from the judgment of sin; no more worry, pain or fear.
Jesus is our joy; promising us eternal life. He demonstrates God’s love– pure, holy, undying love.
Whoever believes in Him will never perish but have eternal life! (John 3:16).
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15)
Lift up the light of your face upon us, O LORD! (Psalm 4:6b)
Celebrating the birth of Jesus and rejoice in His coming to us, we light the Christ candle. Let us read the verse: John 1:5 (ESV):
Walking in the Light
5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
Light represents an important symbol in the Scriptures, often represented by flame or a candle, as we light the Christ Candle, let us read John 8:12 (ESV):
I Am the Light of the World
12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Mary Fairchild in Christianity.about.dot com gives a further explanation of what the light, represented today by a lit candle, signifies:
Christianity Symbols Illustrated Glossary: Light in the Bible
The eternal flame of God’s presence was to be lit in the Temple in Jerusalem at all times. In fact, in the Jewish Feast of Dedication or “Festival of Lights” we remember the victory of the Maccabees and the rededication of the Temple after being desecrated under Greco-Syrian captivity. Even though they only had enough sacred oil for one day, God miraculously causes the eternal flame of his presence to burn for eight days, until more purified oil could be processed.
Light also represents the direction and guidance of God. Psalm 119:105 says God’s Word is a lamp to the feet and a light to our path. 2 Samuel 22 says the Lord is a lamp, turning darkness into light.
Closing Hymn: #117: Silent Night! Holy Night!
Benediction – (2 Corinthians 4:6):
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
“May you be filled with the wonder of Mary, the obedience of Joseph, the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, the determination of the magi, and the peace of the Christ Child. Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit bless you now and forever.”