Day 269 | Sunday, 13 December 2020
The third candle for the third Sunday in Advent is the candle of Joy
The assigned Scripture readings for this the third Sunday in Advent are: Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11; Psalm 126; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 and John 1:6-8, 19-28.
Psalm 126 “2 Our mouths were suddenly filled with laughter; our tongues were filled with joyful shouts. It was even said, at that time, among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them!” 3 Yes, the Lord has done great things for us, and we are overjoyed.”
1 Thessalonians 5:12-22 CEB
12 Brothers and sisters, we ask you to respect those who are working with you, leading you, and instructing you. 13 Think of them highly with love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14 Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are disorderly. Comfort the discouraged. Help the weak. Be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure no one repays a wrong with a wrong, but always pursue the good for each other and everyone else. 16 Rejoice always. 17 Pray continually. 18 Give thanks in every situation because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Don’t suppress the Spirit. 20 Don’t brush off Spirit-inspired messages, 21 but examine everything carefully and hang on to what is good. 22 Avoid every kind of evil.
“When was the last time you found it difficult to contain your joy? What did it feel like in your body and soul to be so joyful? First Thessalonians reminds us that rejoicing and prayer come when we are at peace in our communities, helping the weak, and being patient with everyone. What opportunities do you have to help others, be a peacemaker, and offer encouragement this season?”
“Do: look for opportunities to rejoice, encourage, and help in your community.”
Pray: God of laughter, expand our joy and help us to share it in our communities this week. Amen” (From the Upper Room, November-December 2020 Advent worship litanies p 41”
John 1:6-8 6 A man named John was sent from God. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning the light, so that through him everyone would believe in the light. 8 He himself wasn’t the light, but his mission was to testify concerning the light.
John 1:19-28 John’s witness 19 This is John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 John confessed (he didn’t deny but confessed), “I’m not the Christ.” 21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” John said, “I’m not.” “Are you the prophet?” John answered, “No.” 22 They asked, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 John replied, “I am a voice crying out in the wilderness, Make the Lord’s path straight, just as the prophet Isaiah said.” 24 Those sent by the Pharisees 25 asked, “Why do you baptize if you aren’t the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” 26 John answered, “I baptize with water. Someone greater stands among you, whom you don’t recognize. 27 He comes after me, but I’m not worthy to untie his sandal straps.” 28 This encounter took place across the Jordan in Bethany where John was baptizing.
“Let some joy loose, O God. Let it rise to the surface and shake us out of preoccupation with lists and tasks. Forgive us our heavy-hearted approach to your season of joy and light. Do not let our long lists and calendar of events over-whelm the wonder of your Son's birth. Let some joy loose. Let us see the smiles of the children. Let us know the joy of giving to those in need. Let us feel the embrace of your love in the carols sung and stories told. Let some joy loose, O God, some sparkling light into our world of darkness and strife. Let us be people of joy. In Jesus' name. Amen.”