If you’re the liturgical type, you know that today’s candle is not a part of Advent, but marks the beginning of a whole new season. So for the final reflection of our Advent series, let’s celebrate the end of one busy, but fruitful, ministry season and the new things it will bring in the year ahead. Use this reflection on your own, with your family, or with your youth group as a way to re-center and focus in the midst of your Christmas week.
Passage for reflection: Luke 2
(If you’re reflecting with family or youth group, you may wish to read verses 1-21 only.)
You’ve got to love those shepherds—and not just because they provide for great comedy moments in your Christmas pageant. But the shepherds in Luke’s story show the whole range of emotions on that life-changing night. First, they’re terrified. (And who wouldn’t be?). Then they head off in an excited hurry. And after their chance to worship Jesus for themselves, they can’t stop talking about it.
The characters in Luke’s story show us many ways to respond to Jesus’s presence in our lives. Angels sing. Shepherds share. Mary ponders. But all of them give thanks and tell the story in the unique and personal way God created them to.
Which one are you?
Are you a party person, reveling with the crowd like the shepherds? Or perhaps you’re more like Mary, getting on with the swaddling while pondering what God’s been doing and what it all means. The Christmas season brings many opportunities to celebrate and share, and knowing who God made you to be can help you make the most of this day. Whether you relish time together or take a little quiet time, remember that this day is for marking the moment when God showed up in our world. Do it the way He created you to.
As you light the four Advent candles and the long-awaited Christ candle, invite those present to offer words of praise and thanks for the things Jesus’ arrival has done in your own lives.
Here are three verses of a carol to get you thinking, singing, and celebrating God’s coming to earth:
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 Savior reigns:
let men their songs employ
while fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
repeat the sounding joy.
He rules the world with truth and grace,
and makes the nations prove
the glories of his righteousness
and wonders of his love.
– Isaac Watts
Rachel Dodd is Director of Youth Discipleship for Kent UMC in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, and an MDiv student at Fuller Theological Seminary. She and her husband Carl have been serving churches students and families in England and US for over 15 years, and have two daughters who keep life full of sparkles, adventure, and coffee.