For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Titus 2:11-14
Tonight we light the center candle, the Christ Candle.
We light this candle as a symbol of God’s mercy and grace.
For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,
but have everlasting life.
In 2005 a mother and daughter wrote a book in rhyme about an elf who watches over the house and reports back to the north pole on who is naughty and who is nice. The Elf on the Shelf mania took off. There are all sorts of little scenes posted on social media featuring this little elf. It amazes me the time and effort people put into this. While the little fellow seems to have amassed a dedicated following there is some controversy. Some just believe it is a marketing strategy designed to get you to spend your money. Others believe it is harmful for parents to use the elf to make their children behave. And still others believe that it indoctrinates the children to accept surveillance. If it is permissible for the elf to spy on you then it should be no problem if your government does it.
I believe that this craze is like any other, it depends on what you do with it. But I do have to wonder about a culture that spends so much time and effort on maintaining a false narrative, be it the elf or the jolly man in the red suit, when we have the greatest story ever told.
On this very special night we celebrate the coming of the Messiah, Jesus. The world needs to hear of the events that took place over two thousand years ago. Not only of His birth, but also the life He lived on this earth, the teaching, the preaching, the miracles He performed, the betrayal, the death on the cross, the resurrection from the tomb. It is the greatest story ever told.
What would this world be like if we spent as much time and effort telling the world of God’s plan of salvation . How Jesus paid the debt for our sin so that restoration of the relationship that was broken in the garden of Eden is made possible through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
Jesus died that we might have life.
The price has been paid.
As the song says:
We’ve a story to tell to the nations,
That shall turn their hearts to the right,
A story of truth and mercy,
A story of peace and light,
A story of peace and light.
For the darkness shall turn to dawning,
And the dawning to noonday bright,
And Christ’s great kingdom shall come on earth,
The kingdom of love and light.
So as we light the final candle on the Advent Wreath – the Christ Candle – let us purpose in our hearts to share the good news with those who are still walking in darkness.