4The Third Sunday of Advent (or thereabouts)

[Re-light the first two purple candles]

We Remember the Meaning of Advent

Advent is a word that means “coming” or “visit”. In the Christian season of Advent we prepare for the “advent” of Christ at Christmas. Our preparation includes many things:

• We remember Israel’s hope for the coming of God’s Messiah to save, to forgive, and to restore.

• We remember our hope for the second coming of Jesus.

• We remember our need for a Savior to save us from our sins.

• We prepare to welcome Christ at Christmas into our world . . . and into our hearts.

By lighting one candle each week of Advent, we help ourselves to get ready for the birth of Jesus. So far we have lit two candles. The first helped us to hope for God our Shepherd; with the second we asked God to come and forgive our sins.

Today we remember the joy of waiting, because we know how the story ends!

Prayer for God’s Help

Dear God, thank you for this season of Advent that helps us to prepare for the coming of Christ at Christmas. As we read the Bible and light a candle, may excitement for Christ’s coming burn in our hearts. Amen.

Scripture Readings

Psalm 126:1-6

This psalm celebrates God’s restoration of Israel — and it cries out to God for future restoration.

Zephaniah 3:14-20

Through the prophet Zephaniah God looks ahead to the time when he will renew and heal his people. It will be a day of great rejoicing, both for them and for God!

Philippians 4:4-7

We also rejoice in the Lord, in part because we know that “the Lord is near.” This means, not only that God is with us right now, but that Christ is coming soon.

Lighting of the Candle

[As someone lights the pink candle, the following should be read or paraphrased.]

We light this candle because, like God’s people centuries ago, we know that God has come in Christ and that Christ will come again. We rejoice in God’s work in history and in the future. The pink color means joy!

Prayer of Hope

Dear God, as we light this candle, we rejoice. We know how the first act of the story ended – with the birth of Jesus the Messiah. And we know that he will come again in glory. So even though the story isn’t over, we rejoice in our hope. We wait for you, rejoicing! Amen!

Closing Song

[To be sung to the tune of "O come let us adore him" from "O Come All Ye Faithful."]

We wait for you, rejoicing,
We wait for you, rejoicing,
We wait for you, rejoicing,
Christ the Lord!

[Source – Patheos Blog and Dr. Mark Roberts]