According to present usage, Advent is a period beginning with the Sunday nearest to the feast of Saint Andrew the Apostle (November 30) and embracing four Sundays. In our worship services many Christians have the tradition of the Advent Wreath. The wreath holds five candles signifying the four Sundays of Advent and Christmas. The weeks represent major concepts of the live and promise of Christ Jesus: Hope, Peace, Joy and Love.
Week III: Shepherds and Joy
The third candle, lit on the third Sunday December 12 in 2010) of advent with the first two, is the Shepherds’ candle. We are reminded that God sent the angels to proclaim His arrival to common man and that He still uses ordinary people today to spread the good news of Christ. This candle is pink or rose and represents God’s love and faithfulness.
|How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
Your God reigns! (Isaiah 52:7)
|8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Lets go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. (Luke 2:8-20)
The Greek word used for joy in Luke 1:10 is chara meaning delight or rejoice. The shepherds were the first to hear. (See: https://ptl2010.wordpress.com/2010/12/11/why-were-the-shepherds-the-first-to-hear-luke-28-14/)
Via His angels (messengers), God brought the news of the joy of Jesus’ birth. The shepherds were among the lowest in social status in Judea. Yet they were the first to receive this great news.
As Disciples of Jesus Christ, we are also to spread joy throughout the world and to all people.
Spread joy by doing love.
Merry Christmas, my friends.
Alive in The Word