The Candle of Joy!
So far this advent, we’ve been lighting up the candles of hope, faith and peace...
and wherever hope and faith and peace stand together – it lights up another gift: joy!
So today we light the candle of Joy!
Our journey to Christmas takes a step closer...
The light grows even brighter...
The flame spreads even further...
When you think about it... Joy is such a little word, but it makes a HUGE difference in our lives
It’s like these candles, it might seem small and simple – but the world is so much darker without them!
Three little letters J – O – Y... but if you want to find joy you’ve got to be able to spell it...
J comes first – the J stands for... Jesus
The O stands for... Others...
And the Y stands for... Yourself...
Sometimes we try and put ourselves first, but then the joy is the wrong way around...
Sometimes we put Others before Jesus, and the joy gets all mixed up...
So if you want to get joy right – it means putting Jesus first... and others before yourself!
So as we light the Joy Candle today, we’re going to give thanks for the joy that God brings us through these three things:
Jesus: Just think for a moment how dark and cold our lives would be without Jesus’ love...
Thank You God for Jesus!
Thank You Jesus for coming into our world and living right here among us.
Thank You for bringing Your love to light up the darkness around us... and the darkness inside us too.
And thank You for giving Your one and only life - so that through you... we could know the joy of being forgiven!
Others: Just think of a few of the people that God has given to us...
Thank You God for family, those we care for and those who care for us
Thank You God for friends, both ones we know and the new friends we have yet to meet
Thank You God for Your Church and that we can be a part of spreading Your joy here on earth!
For people who can’t find joy right now,
Whose hearts feel dark and empty,
Whose lives are full of fear or pain...
May they too know the Light and Love that You bring.
And thank You God that You loved this world so much that You gave us Your most precious gift: Jesus, Your Son!
Thank You Lord that You know each and every one of us even better than we know ourselves...
And that You LOVE each and every one of us even more than we can possibly imagine!
Thank You for the joy that You feel about us – and for the joy we feel from just knowing You!
When I’m feeling sad or lonely or afraid, thank You that You are always with me.
Thank You that You want to share Your joy with us, would You help us to share all of our lives with You!
Help us to know Your Joy –
To put Jesus first...
And to put others...
In Jesus’ Name
"We pause again here today to light another candle. But, what good can this tiny little fragile flame do... against a world of darkness?
And yet, still we watch it quietly shining –
not adding to the angst or the anger,
not condemning or condoning the voices of violence, the tools of terror, the weapons of war – but simply standing still... shining pure...
somehow, a simple sign of peace in troubled times.
As we light this flame, it is just one of many that will be lit today
In many different places, in very different cultures –
but one journey, one story, one hope...
Like the stars scattered right across the sky – so too these little lights pierce the darkness, pointing the way to the One whose peace will know no end...
The One True Light, whose glow and grace we offer to the nations.
Like this flame in the darkness,
we keep this light burning,
we keep this hope living
we keep this song spreading
Glory to God in the Highest Heavens – and peace to all on earth.
For all those places where conflict’s scars still mar the landscape
For all the once-busy streets now emptied out by force and fear
For all the heaps of ash and rubble where home and hope once stood
Lord, let Your peace pervade like morning mist, changing anger’s atmosphere
For all the families fleeing from terror, threat and treachery
For relationships ripped apart by invisible battle lines of strife
For all those who eyes still sting with the bitter tears of grief
Lord, let Your peace shoot up like a secret seed, surprising death with life
For all whose feet are asked to march to the rhythm of duty and sacrifice
For all whose hands are asked to carry the capacity to claim a life
For all whose eyes are asked to see the sights of such suffering and sadness
Lord, let Your peace heal the hidden hurts in body, soul and mind
For all the minds where hatred’s noise still drowns and deafens
For all the memories bruised and battered by prejudice and pain
For all the dreams haunted by the ghosts of crisis past
Lord, let Your peace soothe the seeping wounds of searing hurt and shame
For the part we can all play in passing on and amplifying pain
For the ways we work to weaponize our words, worries and our ways
For the lines we draw, the names we call, the walls we build, the camps we form
Lord, let Your peace come, calm and cleanse us, till we glow with glimmers of grace
For You came preaching perfect peace, to people near and far
And You stooped down so low to reach us, from highest throne to manger bed
You saw us at our very worst, and chose to show us grace
So Lord, let Your peace so direct and define us till You are seen in us again
In Jesus’ Name, Amen."
Today, we light candle number 2 – the “Bethlehem” candle...
the candle of faith.
And so, the light begins to spread
The flame continues to grow...
Faith springing from hope... both burning now together...
Beacons on our advent journey...
Guiding us deeper into the centre...
Faith and hope, and hope and faith...
Holy Spirit, Fire of love,
Comforter, Inspirer, Encourager, Friend
We light this flame
In Jesus’ Name
To retrace His steps to Bethlehem
And as a symbol of our desire
That His Presence would our lives grace
Where we face closed doors
And the cold night gnaws
Would you ignite in us this hope, this faith:
That from a borrowed manger bed
To a borrowed cross, a borrowed tomb
There’s no place or time
Where Your light can’t shine
In borrowed hearts, You still find room
So, to our flickering flame of hope
Gracious Spirit, grant Your gift
Of a faith that hopes
And a hope that knows
Your grace for such a place as this
And so in every Bethlehem
Places of pain, prejudice, poverty
Open shame-closed eyes
To Love’s cleansing light
Exchanging despair in destiny
Precious Saviour, Lord and Saviour
We follow in Your blazing trail
As faith and hope dance
In divine romance
May doubts shadows fade and pale"
Advent Prayer (Week1):
A festive flame flickers
A brand new season begins
As the days and nights grow darker
We linger here to let His light in
Not with the flames of a forest fire
Or the fear of fury from above
But a quiet kindness kindling
The warmth, the wonder of His love
We wait and watch this delicate dance
His Hope shining in the dark
Like the first rays of dawn, new grace is born
Revealing the Father’s True Heart
The True Light that enlightens everyone
Is coming into our world
For His arrival we ache; but in faith, we wait
Even as our hearts within us burn
See with this candle we retell, rehearse, re-enact
Not just as remembrance, but as a prayer
For The God who came in love still comes
The God who cared enough still cares
His hope still hops over the human horizons
Still blazes into our brokens dreams and our doubts
Where our strength shakes, His light still breaks
And no dark can ever put it out
So Lord, let Your light so shine on us
Let all heaven and nature sing!
Let our love glow and grow, until the whole world knows
The Light and Life to all You bring!