2016 Advent Wreath Meditations — Year A, Third Sunday of Advent
This set of brief meditations and scripture may be used in lighting the candles of the Advent wreath in worship at church or home. Each meditation uses one of the 2016 lectionary readings for that day. The readings are divided into sections that can be assigned to various persons participating, including children. Choose from among the hymn options to conclude each meditation. Permission is granted to download, copy, adapt, edit, and reprint for home or local church worship with the inclusion of the copyright citation on each copy.
Third Sunday of Advent (December 11, 2016)
What must it be like to encounter a season of new life and rebirth in the midst of the winter of the soul? Like an oasis in the desert, life has the ability to spring up at God’s command. But we so often can’t see it. Maybe it’s because we aren’t looking. God meets us in our hope to bring joy and fuel our anticipation. It is in this season of expectation that we encounter a reading from the Book of Isaiah on this third Sunday of Advent.
Isaiah 35: 1-10 (NRSV)
The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are of a fearful heart, “Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense. He will come and save you.” Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp, the grass shall become reeds and rushes. A highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not travel on it, but it shall be for God’s people; no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
One: The word of the Lord.
ALL: Thanks be to God.
[Light the first and second candles.]
God is a never-ending source of joy. If we follow and live in the light of God, we will be sustained through the darkest night and know that joy can defeat hopelessness. We light this candle today as a sign of this deep and abiding sense of joy. “Sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Isaiah 35: 10).
[Light the third candle.]
One: And so we offer this mysterious prayer:
ALL: Lord Jesus, quickly come.
SUNG RESPONSE: “Come, Lord Jesus, Come”
© 2016 by Discipleship Ministries, The United Methodist Church, PO Box 340003, Nashville TN 37203. Telephone (877)899-2780, ext 7073. Used by permission. Permission is granted to download, adapt, edit, copy, and use in congregational or home worship with the inclusion of this entire copyright citation on each copy. It may not be sold, republished, used for profit, or placed on a website without permission.