The Third Sunday in Advent
REFLECTION & FOCUS
This Sunday we celebrate the 3rd Sunday in Advent and we light the pink candle also know as the Shepherds’ candle. The Shepherds’ candle reminds us of how God sent the angels to proclaim His arrival to common man and that the Savior and King of this world came in a lower and more humble way than any of us could dare try. But, what’s the significance of angels appearing first to shepherds and not any of the spiritual leaders, the Rabbis or even the political leaders to announce that the real King has come? Why shepherds watching flocks by night? Was not a shepherd the lowliest of occupations at this time in this region who carried no position or power of any kind? If this is God Himself and the sovereign King, why would He not come with all the glory and honor that was due Him?
Just as there is no one who can ascend above Him in heaven or on earth, there is no one who can humble themselves and descend below Him. Christ came for the broken, the poor, the fatherless and the widow. He came for wretched sinners. He came for us. He came into this world more lowly than us. He redeems us. The announcement came to lowly shepherds to remind us and show us that Emmanuel, God is with us, was getting ready to walk among His people and to save them.
Let us rejoice that we have a King unlike any other; no earthly king would ever empty themselves of their glory to live in squaller among the people they rule. BUT, our King would and did! Let us remember that Christ is in all we deem unlovely. Let us desire to become like shepherds. Let us desire to be meek and lowly. Let us desire Christ.
Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. ~Isaiah 53:1-6 ESV
WORSHIP IN SONG
The central theme of Advent can be found in this hymn. So much waiting, pleading, hope and most of all, rejoicing. We will sing this song each Sunday in Advent to not only remind us of, but lead us into the glorious moment when our Savior first appeared. And, also, to remind us He will come again and make all things new!
O COME, O COME EMMANUEL
O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Emmanuel, shall come to thee, O Israel
O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o’er the grave
O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight
O come, Thou Key of David, come
And open wide our heavenly home
Make safe the way that leads on high
And close the path to misery
GOD CALLS US TO WORSHIP & GIVES US HOPE :: ISAIAH 9:6-7
 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this. (ESV)
CONFESSING OUR FAITH :: NEW CITY CATECHISM, QUESTIONS 21-23
Q. 21: What sort of Redeemer is needed to bring us back to God?
A. One who is truly human and also truly God.
Q. 22: Why must the Redeemer be truly human?
A. That in human nature he might on our behalf perfectly obey the whole law and suffer the punishment for human sin; and also that he might sympathize with our weaknesses.
Q. 23: Why must the Redeemer be truly God?
A. That because of his divine nature his obedience and suffering would be perfect and effective; and also that he would be able to bear the righteous anger of God against sin and yet overcome death.
GOD’S WORD PREACHED :: LUKE 2:1-20
The Message of Christmas: The Shepherd’s Candle
The Birth of Jesus Christ
 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.  This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria.  And all went to be registered, each to his own town.  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,  to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.  And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.  And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
The Shepherds and the Angels
 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”  And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.  And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.  And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.  But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.  And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. (ESV)