December 9, 2014

Advent Adventure, Part 1

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” Isaiah 9:2 (NIV)

The advent of Christ pierced the darkness of our world!  Jesus is the light of the world!  The Bible says “In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.”John 1:4-5 (NIV) This week, we begin an adventure I’m calling the Advent Adventure together.  It’s the journey to Bethlehem that was promised to Abraham thousands of years before.  In fact, the advent of Christ was first revealed in the garden after the fall of man.  When Satan and sin had violated the innocence of man and his perfect relationship with his Creator, the Lord said to the Serpent, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will crush your head, and you will strike His heel.”  Genesis 3:15 (NIV) The one who would crush Satan’s head is none other than the Christ child!  At the cross, He won the victory and, through His resurrection, He defeated death and the devil!  We know longer have to wander in darkness!  Those of us who live in the land of the shadow of death have seen a great light – the light of Christ! 

One of the traditions we practice in our Chapel services at Woodlands Church is the lighting of the Advent Candles.  You can do this at home with your family, as well, so everyone may join in the Advent Adventure!  Set on the branches of a Christmas wreath are four candles – three purple candles and one pink candle. In the center of the wreath sits a white candle.  As a whole, these candles represent the coming of the light of Christ into the world. From now until Christmas, we will walk through the lighting of each candle and the promise it represents so you can share it with your family and elevate Christ this Christmas in your home.

The first candle to light is one of the three purple candles. This candle is typically called the “Prophecy Candle” in remembrance of the prophets who foretold the birth of Christ. This candle represents hope in anticipation of the coming Messiah.  In Isaiah 9:6-7 (NIV), the Bible promises,“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He 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. He will reign on David’s throne and over His kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.”  Then in Isaiah 7:14, the prophet predicted, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call Him Immanuel.”  That promise was fulfilled the first Christmas morning.  The angel told Joseph, “‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel’–which means, ‘God with us.’” Matthew 1:20-23 (NIV)