Third Sunday in Advent

3rd-candle

2022 Third Sunday of Advent (Pink Candle) December 11:

Waiting for JOY

Reader #1: During Christmas, surrounded by family and friends, we feel the warmth of knowing we belong in 
this place, with these people. Or, we feel the jarring disappointment that can come when we sense we do not.

[Alternative Reader 1 for younger participant: When it is Christmas and family and friends are around, I feel I belong somewhere special. But I know that not everyone feels that way this time of year. I pray joy would come to all.]

Reader #2: This season is a time of highs and lows, of joy and depression, of rushing when we want to stand still. Within the Christmas story itself, we find opposites.

Reader #3: Angels, heaven’s most glorious citizens, mix and mingle with shepherds, Bethlehem’s least. The God who chose to partner with an unwed mother and be born in a barn uses shepherds, the outcasts of the day, to be the first to hear the news that Emmanuel has come.

All gathered sing: O Come, O Come Emmanuel, verse 3:

O come, thou Day-Spring, come and cheer our spirits by thine advent here; disperse the gloomy clouds of night and death’s dark shadows put to flight;

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to thee, O Israel.

Reader #1: The world has a habit of creating gloomy clouds and of discarding what doesn’t fit. Our God does the opposite. Isaiah 11 says that “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart.”

Reader #2: God sends angels to shepherds and gathers in what the world throws out. God restores people to health and heals their wounds.

Reader #3: In these final days leading up to Christmas we see angels visiting shepherds. And we remember that God cares for us as lambs. God loves when we do not. God calls us to love everyone, no matter what. Help us love others that true Joy would be given…and received.

Lighting of the Candle:

Reader #1: We light this candle in joy because we now know God does not shut out – but welcomes in.

All: We light these three candles as symbols of God’s light shining in the darkness. A very long time ago, God said “Let there be light.” And there was light.

Reader #2: Prayer

Let us pray,

Dear God, 
You are the light of the world. In you, there is no darkness at all. There are no outcasts, no one who is not good enough. As we continue on our journey through Advent, help us remember that those who the world says do not belong, you welcome with open arms. This good news is joy indeed!

In Jesus’ name, Amen