This Sunday [Dec 24] our worship services will present a unique opportunity to share in the fourth Sunday of Advent at 10 a.m., before moving quickly into Christmas Eve services that night at 5 p.m., 7 p.m., and 11 p.m.  Sunday morning we will light the fourth candle of our Advent wreath, the candle of Peace.  It is an appropriate theme for Advent IV in leading us on in the last leg of our journey to Christmas, to celebrate the coming of our Savior.  Having recognized the Hope, Love, and Joy of Christ, what else would follow but Peace?

During the Christmas Eve services, we will light the final candle, the Christ candle.  As this candle completes the wreath, it signals how Christ will have the last word in all things, and bring wholeness.  Although Christ was present at Creation, what has happened in the intervening time, points to why we need Him so desperately in the present day.  It reminds me of a verse from Isaiah, summing up our need as much as that perceived by the prophet from his perspective:

       Isaiah 64:1 O that you would tear open the heavens and come down   

The good news is that the Lord did come to us in person not only to make things right, but to also empower us to live as the people we were created to be, and find lasting peace.  However, maybe we sense the sentiment of the prophet, as we consider the unrest present in the world.  Not a day goes by that we do not hear of some tragic evil act.  Nonetheless, the answer is unrelenting and moves across the world as God fills hearts with his Grace. 

At the Advent WOW, I mentioned my goal was to extend an invitation to all 75 households in my subdivision to attend our Christmas Eve services and other events.  I managed to do that, if not in person, then with a personalized card and handwritten note.  With our many services being offered on Christmas Eve, it is an especially great time to invite others to join in with our community of faith at Mt. Zion UMC.  Peace is delivered in person, so let us offer that precious gift as we share the Hope, Love, and Joy that we know in Christ.     

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Harden