Advent Study 2020

Sharing Our Stories: December 13

Writer’s Name: Jim Divine

Writer’s Ministry: Pastor

Assigned Text: Luke 2:8-14

Assigned Daily Word: Joy

I have been in ministry for 29 years now and I have to say that I love being a pastor. I truly believe that God created me for this life role. While I love most of the parts (not all, but most) of being a pastor there is one thing, that happens only one or two times a year, that is my biggest pastoral moment of the whole year—the lighting of the candles at the end of the Christmas Eve service. I can remember the first time the lighting of the candles moved into this exalted place in my life. It was during the first year that I was in ministry, serving as the youth pastor at Riverside Methodist Church in Jackson, Mississippi.

Our text for that evening had been Luke 2:8-14, the story of the shepherds and their visitation by a host of angels. Our lead pastor, Randy Shuman, had just finished preaching and standing beside him on the stage, while singing Silent Night, I watched in awe as the candles began to light. As the last candles were lit, I realized for the first time the vantage point the pastor has on Christmas Eve and my breath was taken away. I looked out over several hundred candles lighting the faces of our congregation, I had the sensation of a host of angels declaring praise to the newborn Savior.

I have never gotten over the sensation of standing on the stage and looking out over a congregation filled with candles lighting the faces of the faithful and reminding us of the angels who join with us to declare the Glory of the incarnate Son of God, Jesus Christ.

Daily Prayer: Lord, in all that is going on in the world around us, may we never lose focus on our God who came to dwell with us and may we join with the Angels in singing our praise to you.

Discussion/Reflection Questions:

  1. How has this Advent season been different than past ones and what is God teaching you from it?
  2. What are the special elements of Christmas that speak to your heart?
  3. What are the traditions that you keep at Christmas that help you experience Jesus anew each year?

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