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Third Sunday: JOY

READ INTRODUCTORY SENTENCES:

As we gather around the Advent wreath today, we rejoice that Christmas is a time of prayer and of open hearts when we sing songs of joy. Christmas is a time of worship—the moment when the busiest of us pause in wonder. Christmas happens when our hearts and minds are prepared to receive the Christ-child.

READ SCRIPTURE READING: Psalm 126.1-6, NRSV

1 When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. 2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then it was said among the nations, "The LORD has done great things for them." 3 The LORD has done great things for us, and we rejoiced. 4 Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like the watercourses in the Negeb. 5 May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy. 6 Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves. Psalm 126:1-6 (NRSV)

LIGHT THE FIRST ADVENT CANDLE OF HOPE

LIGHT THE SECOND ADVENT CANDLE OF PEACE

LIGHT THE THIRD CANDLE: THE CANDLE OF JOY

READ THE FOLLOWING

Jesus said that John the Baptist was his messenger who would go before him to prepare the way for the revealing of a Savior who would seek to save his people from their sins. We still need to hear the words of preparation so that the message does not fly by us with little or no understanding. We do not live in the presence of John, however, we live with the example and the word of John.

OFFER A PRAYER (You may use this one, or one of your choosing.):

O God, we thank you that there is a word of preparation. It helps us to understand that Jesus proved your love for every person—babies and children, old people and young, sick people and those who were strong, rich people and those who were poor. Come to us in this advent season, and help us to be prepared to receive anew the proclamation and love of Jesus. Amen.

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