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Dec 2, 2015

Advent – The Lighting of the First Candle: Waiting for the Shepherd

The Lighting of the First candle should be completed on or around the First Sunday of Advent. For an introduction to Advent please see our first post: An Introduction to Advent.

We Remember the Meaning of Advent

[Note: Someone can read or paraphrase the following. Or you might want to discuss the meaning of Advent together.]

Advent is a word that means “coming” or “visit.” In the Christian season of Advent, we prepare for the “advent” of Christ at Christmas. Our preparation includes many things:

• We remember Israel’s hope for the coming of God’s Messiah to save, to forgive, and to restore.
• We remember our hope for the second coming of Jesus.
• We remember our need for a Savior to save us from our sins.
• We prepare to welcome Christ at Christmas into our world . . . and into our hearts.

By lighting one candle each week of Advent, we help ourselves get ready for the birth of Jesus. The candles have different meanings, each based upon the Bible. These meanings help us understand how special the birth of Jesus is for us.

Today we focus on the coming of Christ as our Shepherd.

Prayer for God’s Help

[This prayer can be read, or simply used as a model.]

Dear God, thank you for this season of Advent that helps us prepare for the coming of Christ at Christmas. As we read the Bible and light a candle, may excitement for Christ’s coming burn in our hearts. Amen.

Scripture Readings

[Parents, you may wish to abbreviate or eliminate certain readings depending on the age(s) of your child(ren). You may also want to read these selections out of a Children’s Bible.]

Psalm 80:1–7
In this Psalm, we join the people of Israel as they invite God their Shepherd to save and to restore them.

Isaiah 40:1–11
This passage looks ahead to the coming of the Lord, who will care for his people like a shepherd.

Revelation 7:9–17
Like God’s people before the coming of Christ, we also look ahead to the time when Christ, who is both the Lamb and our Shepherd, will finish his work and “God will wipe away every tear” from our eyes.

Lighting of the Candle

[As someone lights the first purple candle, the following should be read or paraphrased.]

We light this candle because, like God’s people centuries ago, we also look forward with hope to the coming of the Shepherd. The purple color of the candle reminds us of the seriousness of our hope.

Prayer of Hope

[To be read or paraphrased.]

Dear God, as we light this candle, we hope for your coming as our Good Shepherd. Please gather us in your arms, feed us with spiritual food, wipe away every tear from our eyes, and “let your face shine, that we may be saved.” Come, our Shepherd! Amen.

Closing Song

[To be sung to the tune of “O come let us adore him” from “O Come All Ye Faithful.”]

O come to us, our Shepherd,
O come to us, our Shepherd,
O come to us, our Shepherd,
Christ the Lord!

This Advent Devotional is adapted from Rev. Dr. Mark D. Roberts Advent Devotional Guide.

 

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