And those the LORD has rescued will return.
They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. Isaiah 35:10
SAY These candles represent hope, preparation, and joy. Jesus is the joy of our salvation. On this Gaudete Sunday, we move from hope to joyous praise because God is making all things new?
LIGHT three candles: two purple and one rose.
ASK What is joy?
SHARE Joy is happiness. It's excitement and bliss. It's gladness and laughter overflowing from inside of you.
READ Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-10 (The Passion Translation) The mighty Spirit of Lord Yahweh is wrapped around me because Yahweh has anointed me, as a messenger to preach good news to the poor. He sent me to heal the wounds of the brokenhearted, to tell captives, “You are free,” and to tell prisoners, “Be free from your darkness.”
I am sent to announce a new season of Yahwehs grace and a time of Gods recompense on his enemies, to comfort all who are in sorrow, to strengthen those crushed by despair who mourn in Zionto give them a beautiful bouquet in the place of ashes, the oil of bliss instead of tears, and the mantle of joyous praise instead of the spirit of heaviness. Because of this, they will be known as Mighty Oaks of Righteousness, planted by Yahweh as a living display of his glory.
They will restore ruins from long ago and rebuild what was long devastated. They will renew ruined cities and desolations of past generations. I will sing and greatly rejoice in Yahweh! My whole being vibrates with shouts of joy in my God! For he has dressed me with salvation and wrapped me in the robe of his righteousness! I appear like a bridegroom on his wedding day, decked out with a beautiful sash, or like a radiant bride adorned with sparkling jewels.
ART Look at the picture of Mary. What do you notice about this image? Where do you see joy radiating through this image? How do you imagine she felt holding the promised renewer of all things within her own body?
DISCUSS What brings you joy? How do you experience joy in your body? What stands out to you most from Isaiah's prophecy? What part of the Christmas story makes you most glad? What are some ways that you can bring joy to others this Christmas?
Joy to the world! the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King; Let every heart prepare him room, And heaven and nature sing, And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.
No more let sins and sorrows grow, Nor thorns infest the ground; He comes to make His blessings flow Far as the curse is found, Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.
He rules the world with truth and grace, And makes the nations prove The glories of His righteousness, And wonders of His love, And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.
PRAYER Lord, hear our prayers, and lighten the darkness of our hearts by your gracious appearing; for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (Historic Collect for the Third Sunday in Advent, Gregorian, 10th Century)
Additional Readings: Psalm 126, I Thess. 5:16-24, John 1:6-8, 19-34, Isaiah 11:1-10
Advent invites active Kingdom participation
that offers hope to a weary world.
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