2022 Fourth Sunday of Advent December 18:
Waiting on LOVE
Reader #1: Advent is a time of waiting, of holy expectation for what is to come. It is a time of preparing our hearts and our homes for Christmas joy. Christmas is almost here! We are ready to celebrate God revealing what love really is in the person of Jesus.
Reader #2: During Advent we remember the incarnation of Jesus. Born to a young woman who, but for love, would have been an outcast. Born in a barn, God incarnate had a rocky start.
Reader #3: The God we meet in Jesus is a God of compassion, of righteousness and of a radical love like no other. The God who created the heavens and the earth becomes flesh and dwells among us. Emmanuel, God with us.
[Alternative Reader for younger participant: Advent is about waiting. And waiting can be hard, especially when you are waiting for Christmas.]
All gathered sing: O Come, O Come Emmanuel, verse 4: O come, thou Key of David, come; and open wide our heavenly home; make safe the way that leads on high, and close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
Reader #1: There was a man in the desert once, who called people to wait for Jesus. He reminded people of an ancient prophesy and told them it was about to come true. “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all humankind will see God’s salvation.” His name was John the Baptist.
Reader #2: There are valleys, the way is rough, the road is often crooked. The world is not how God intends it to be. Mary, the mother of Jesus, walked a very rough road. The world tried to condemn her but her strength carried her through like it does so many in today’s troubled world.
Lighting of the Candle:
Reader # 3: We light this candle in gratitude for God’s divine and perfect love, made visible at Christmas, and our imperfect and sometimes clumsy ways of sharing it.
All: We light these candles as a symbol of God’s light shining in the darkness. The Light has come into the world. It shines as brightly now as it did then. The darkness didn’t overcome it then. It never will.
Reader #1: Prayer
Let us pray,
God of Advent, we are an impatient and busy people. We are propelled into Christmas and swept away by activity. Help us to slow down and savor Advent. Teach us in this rhythm of expectation to see you at work in our lives and in the world.
Your son was not born in a castle to strong rulers. He was born in a barn to a vulnerable young woman. That teaches us something about you. Open our eyes to the vulnerable around us in our own communities and in our global home. Guard every child of God that is in need. Equip us, your people, to raise up the valleys of life and make the rough places smooth.
In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.