Advent Week 2: Light the Peace Candle
This week at Margate Community Church, in preparation for our celebration of the birth of Christ, we decorated the church, and on Sunday morning the congregation and choir sang hymns and carols of praise. A harpist played familiar Christmas music and joined with the choir when they sang. Anticipating the birth of Christ brings hope (Advent, week 1). The second Advent candle adds light in the darkness, and we celebrate the peace that Jesus brings into our lives. (Jesus is the Prince of Peace, Isaiah 9:6)
As part of each weekly Sunday service, Pastor Fleming has a children’s talk, and today he showed the children an Advent Calendar. While many Christmas calendars count down the days until Christmas and provide small treats for the children each day, the Christian Advent Calendar uses symbols to tell the story of the birth of Christ. Pastor Fleming opened the first eight pouches to help him tell the beginning of the Christmas story.
The first three symbols:
- Pouches 1, 2, and 3 contained sheep.
- Pouches 4 and 5 contained shepherds
- Pouch 6, 7, and 8 contained angels.
All three of these symbols are important in the Christmas story.
The shepherds, as the hymn tells us, watched their flocks at night, all seated on the ground. They did not have comfortable homes because they had to sleep out in the countryside where the best feeding grounds for the sheep were. They were often lonely, with other shepherds and their flocks their only companions. These shepherds were poorest of the poor and were looked down upon by society in general.
But the angels did not appear to the wealthy, happy, and socially prominent people, rather it was to these poor, ragged, and cold shepherds that the angels brought the good news, the announcement of the birth of Christ. In this way, God shows that he accepts everyone regardless of their economic or social status or their race.
Earlier, the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, a woman betrothed to Joseph, a descendant of David of the Old Testament, a king of Israel, and a writer of most of the Psalms. The angel told Mary,
Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. (Luke 1: 26-28, 31)
Another angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him,
Mary will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name, Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21)
Next Sunday: Advent Wreath Candle 3 and Advent Calendar Pouches 9 through 15.
If you want to make your own Advent calendar, visit Tricia and read Advent Calendar: Teach The True Story of Christmas.