Want JOY? Real JOY!
This has been the weirdest year of my life. I long for normalcy—we all long for normalcy. Covid has become a much-abhorred household word and I will not linger there. The media has given that subject ample hype and played on the fears of mankind. Rather, I will focus on Christmas joy and how to obtain it, but it means taking a couple moments each day with intentional devotion.
Curl up in a chair, with a hot cup of chocolate or cinnamon apple cider—Breath in the sweet fragrance of freshly cut boughs and picture a wreath centred in the middle of your table. It's made with evergreens, rather than leaf stripped branches for a good reason. The evergreen represents the eternity of God, the staying force of One who does not change in our unraveling world. He has all in His control. Breathe in the peace this truth reveals.
The beautiful scarlet holly berries in this wreath remind us of the cruelty of the crown of thorns thrust upon Jesus' head, and his crimsoned blood poured out for you and me—all to make eternal life possible.
The circle represents God's unending love for all humanity. You are loved and precious to Jesus.
There are four candles surrounding a large one in the centre-the Christ candle to be lit on Christmas day. Each week we light an additional candle in preparation of heart to celebrate Christmas with joy, rather than at a harried stress-filled pace. I admit, in Christmas' past I was one of those mom's that felt unglued by the time the day arrived. I worked full time hours at the local drug store, sent out Christmas cards, decorated inside and out to the max, bought and wrapped many gifts all the while trying to be a wife and mother extraordinaire. By the time I had to make the turkey dinner, I felt like a turkey—dead, stuffed with anxiety, fully cooked. LOL. This is not the joy I am suggesting.
In all this hype, I had never researched nor included the lighting of the advent candles until last year. In taking this time and reading the Scriptures daily, there was a marked difference in my countenance come Christmas day and so I'm going to share the secret of joy obtained. An advent wreath is not mandatory but adds to the joy of this practise. They are easy to make—some cut boughs, holly berry sprigs and five candles. (I bought an inexpensive wreath and added the candles.)
Grab your Bible and you are set. Click the music link attached for Silent Night by Carrie Underwood and light candle number one on Sunday November 29th. Ponder the words of the song and the wonder of Christmas, then read the following.
The first candle is the "Prophets Candle," and symbolizes hope. As we light this candle, we reflect upon the brave Old Testament patriarchs who were Christ's ancestors and who foretold of His arrival. This candle symbolizes the hope of the Messiah who came as a babe, and the hope of our risen King who will come again riding on a white horse. It burns with heat and light representing enough hope and faith to know our King Jesus has this Covid-ridden world in His hands.
These Scriptures foretell the coming Christ and the hope we have. Read slowly, breath in the truth. Don't leave until you feel God's peace wash over you.
Isaiah was one of these prophets who foretold the coming of Jesus...
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light: Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined. You have the light of Jesus. Death has no sting nor victory for Jesus has come. Let all fear diminish as you savour this truth.
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgement and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of Hosts will perform this." Breathe in these beautiful words of hope…Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. This is who holds you in His arms and gathers you close. Is. 40:11
To prepare for Christmas in your heart and build on the peace and joy, take a moment each day to light that candle with your family or in your own devotional time, and read the following Scripture references supplied by biblestudytools.com.
In the theme of the prophet's candle of hope, these Scriptures foretell the coming Messiah. What Christmas is all about.
•Day 1 – Is. 40: 9-11 Good tidings!
•Day 2 – Is. 52:7-9 His righteousness will endure forever.
•Day 3 – Gen. 3:8-15 The fall of man. Enmity between your seed and her Seed is the promise of a child/Jesus. Bruise His heel speaks of a serious injury, but it is contrasted with the bruising of the head—the defeat—of the serpent's seed. Jesus would be bruised for our transgressions but would rise again and defeat Satan.
•Day 4 – Is. 40: 1-5 Prepare the way of the Lord—foretells the coming of a great King.
•Day 5 – Gen. 15: 1-6 The word "descendants" translates in Hebrew to the word Seed. Seed is a word used to refer to the coming Messiah.
•Day 6 – Is. 9:6-7 Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace—power filled names of God. Really meditate on these.
•Day 7 – Ps. 89:1-4 Your Seed I will establish forever.
May the love of Jesus light a Christmas candle in your soul bright and beautiful for all to see.
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