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Advent: Lighting the Second Candle

Dec 04, 2008
This is part 4 of a 7-part series on Advent by Toni and Brian Becker.
[Play Christmas worship music before gathering to set a special tone. You can even play the four songs you are going to sing during the service to familiarize everyone to the songs.]

Opening Prayer and Lighting of First Candle
[light the first candle] Lord God, we open our hearts to You. We remember that the first candle represents the hope that we have in You, the light of the world. Thank You for Your faithfulness, Oh God. You are long-suffering and full of loving-kindness. We are the recipients of that love even when we are the least deserving of any of it. We are humbled in Your Presence. We worship You in spirit and in truth and know that we will be changed for the better for the time we spend in Your company. Forgive us. Fill us with Your Spirit. Draw us close to You now.

Songs of Worship
[feel free to substitute Christmas Carols – lyrics are listed below] Draw Me Close To You (or Draw Me Lord from last week)
O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Bible Reading

Luke 1:26-56 read from The Message [condensed/edited]
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth to a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name, Mary. Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her, “Good morning! You’re beautiful with God’s beauty, beautiful inside and out! God be with you.”

She was thoroughly shaken but the angel assured her, “Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus. He will be great, be called ‘Son of the Highest.’
Mary said to the angel, “But how? I’ve never been with a man.”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you […and…] the child you bring to birth will be called Holy, Son of God. And did you know that your cousin Elizabeth conceived a son, old as she is? Everyone called her barren, and here she is six months pregnant! Nothing, you see, is impossible with God.”

And Mary said, “Yes, I see it all now: I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve. Let it be with me just as you say.”
Then the angel left her.

Mary didn’t waste a minute. She got up and traveled to a town in Judah in the hill country, straight to Zachariah’s house, and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby in her womb leaped.

Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and sang out exuberantly, “You’re so blessed among women, and the babe in your womb, also blessed! The moment the sound of your greeting entered my ears, the babe in my womb skipped like a lamb for sheer joy. Blessed woman, who believed what God said, believed every word would come true!”

And Mary said, “I’m bursting with God-news; I’m dancing the song of my Savior God. What God has done for me will never be forgotten. He embraced his chosen child, Israel; He remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high. It’s exactly what he promised, beginning with Abraham and right up to now.”

Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months and then went back to her own home.

Meditation
During our first candle service, we got to meet Zachariah and Elizabeth. And we learned how fear casts out all faith. Now, having read the verses that come next, we see how faith casts out all fear.

Mary heard the angel and believed him. Mary was immediately excited and began preparing. She went to see Elizabeth, which was not an easy trip. Isn’t it amazing how different faith reacts to the impossible as compared to fear?

Zachariah was paralyzed, argued with an angel and lost the ability to talk…all because of fear. Compare that to Mary’s response: joy, singing, dancing and praising God with sheer excitement. Yes, there is a big difference between walking in faith and walking in fear.

Walk in faith and it will be said of you, just like it was said of Mary, “You are blessed: You who believed what God said, believed every word would come true!”

Lighting of the Second Advent Candle
[light second Advent candle] Like Mary, we are so excited to celebrate Your arrival here on earth. The prophets looked forward to the day when the Messiah would come to earth and it happened just as they foretold. We look back in wonder at the story of Your coming. We repeat what Mary said in her excitement. “What God has done for me will never be forgotten. He remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high!” You, Lord, do exactly as You promise.

Closing Song of Worship
Joy To The World

Closing Prayer
You alone, Oh God, are worthy of our highest praise. You alone deserve Your place on the thrones of our lives. Let our hearts and minds over-flow with joy as we consider what this good news has done to transform our lives. We can live out each day free from fear and worry because You came to set us free. We know that our lives are held in Your hand and that Your love always has the final say. Reign over us. Reign in us, oh Lord, we pray. Amen.

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If you would like to download the four songs we’ve selected for our service you can click the box below and download each of them for $0.99. The lyrics for the songs appear below:

Draw Me Close To You

Draw me close to You
Never let me go
I lay it all down again
To hear You say that I’m Your friend

You are my desire
No one else will do
‘Cause nothing else could take Your place
To feel the warmth of Your embrace
Help me find the way
Bring me back to You

You’re all I want
You’re all I’ve ever needed
You’re all I want
Help me know You are near

O Draw Me Lord written by David Baroni

O draw me Lord
O draw me Lord
O draw me Lord
And I’ll run after You

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appears
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee O Israel

O come thou Dayspring, 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

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee O Israel

Joy To The World

Joy to the world! The Lord is come:
let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare him room
and heaven and nature sing.

Joy to the earth! the Saviour reigns:
let men their songs employ
while fields and floods rocks hills and plains
repeat the sounding joy.

He rules the earth with truth and grace,
and makes the nations prove
the glories of his righteousness
and wonders of his love