Sunday, December 12, 2010

Third Sunday in Advent

In our worship service today, the third candle was lit.  The pink candle has always been somewhat of a mystery to me standing erect and tall but not purple like the other three.  The pink candle assumes its place with grace and dignity, and thanks to my pastor this year I now know the reason for the different color.  Her explanation was that in the midst of our expectation and patient waiting a little joy should be infused.  Oh, yes, the joy candle!  And it's pink color designates a change from the waiting and expectation of the Christ Child's birth.

Following our worship time, the sanctuary of our church was definitely filled with so much joy that the joy candle may have felt for the first time in a long time inclusion in a big way during Advent.  You see today was the day that our children, youth and some adults presented for our entertainment and joy a Christmas musical entitled "The Mystery of Simon Shepherd."  As the performers moved through their paces, it became apparent that we were indeed hearing the Christmas story with a little different interpretation.  Today's focus was on the innkeeper. 
It seems he was the last to see Simon Shepherd the night that the innkeeper gave shelter to Mary and Joseph in his stable.  Simon too was looking for a place for the night and he was given shelter in the same stable.

Next morning when Simon left he took a wrong turn in trying to get back home and to his sheep.  He finally found his way and arrived just in time to vouch for the innkeeper and keep him from going to jail!

Ever lost your way?  Ever stopped listening for God's direction?  Ever just tune out God's Word?  Ever think attendance on Sunday mornings isn't all that important?  I think we can safely say like Simon these are all examples of losing our way.  Not all inclusive but fair examples.  However, God waits patiently, as we are asked to wait during Advent, for us to find our way again.  And when we do, He rejoices and there is joy throughout the land just as there was on the night the Christ Child was born.

I truly hope that during this Advent season much joy and light will be a part of your expectation and patient waiting. 

There will be a highway called the Holy Road.  No one rude or rebellious
   is permitted on this road.  It's for God's people exclusively—impossible to get lost on

this road.    Not even fools can get lost on it.  No lions on this road, no dangerous
wild animals—nothing and no one dangerous or threatening.
Only the redeemed will walk on it.  The people God has ransomed will come back
on this road.  They'll sing as they make their way home to Zion,
unfading halos of joy encircling their heads, welcomed home with
gifts of joy and gladness as all sorrows and sighs scurry into the night.
Isaiah 35:8-10 (The Message)

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