The Second Sunday in Advent
This coming Lord’s Day will be the second Sunday in Advent. The season of Advent doesn’t actually include Christmas Day, but leads us to it and so Advent is an entire season of waiting. As the expectation and anticipation of Advent builds, each Sunday we will light candles and read scripture that lead us to the commemoration of that glorious, and even scandalous, event wherein our Redeemer left His heavenly throne and all that was His.
The words of Phil. 2:6-8 lay it out perfectly: “6…though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
THE BETHLEHEM CANDLE
The second candle we light is called the “Bethlehem Candle” or “The Candle of Preparation”. It symbolizes God keeping his promise to send a Savior who would be born in Bethlehem. Preparation means to “get ready”. Help us to be ready to welcome you, O God!
Matthew 2:1-6 tells us: Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
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 GIVES US HOPE :: LUKE 1:46-50
Mary’s Song of Praise: The Magnificat
 And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord,  and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,  for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;  for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.  And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. (ESV)
CONFESSION OF FAITH :: NEW CITY CATECHISM, QUESTION 15
Since no one can keep the law, what is its purpose?
That we may know the holy nature and will of God, and the sinful nature and disobedience of our hearts; and thus our need of a Savior. The law also teaches and exhorts us to live a life worthy of our Savior.
GOD’S WORD PREACHED :: MATTHEW 2
 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem,  saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”  When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him;  and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.  They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
 “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
 Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared.  And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.”  After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was.  When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.  And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.  And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
The Flight to Egypt
 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.”  And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt  and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
Herod Kills the Children
 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.  Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:
 “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”
The Return to Nazareth
 But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,  saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.”  And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel.  But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee.  And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene. (ESV)