The Joy Candle: Hope of Restoration
“Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’: aim at earth and you will get neither.” – C. S. Lewis
The third Sunday of Advent is about Joy, and how this Joy is expressed through a hope that God will restore all things.
The candle lit on this Sunday is sometimes called “the Shepherds’ Candle” because of how the shepherds were given “good news of great joy” (Lk. 2:10). This Joy was so profound that it caused a multitude of angels in heaven to break out into song, but it was a joy that could be appreciated by mankind.
In Isaiah 61, we see this Joy at work as the Lord frees prisoners. Christ’s coming to earth marked the beginning of a ministry in which the blind received sight, the lame walked, and the prisoners were set free.
We also know that this work has only just begun. Just as Christ came to earth once, one day he will return to truly bring a state of “heaven on earth.”
With this in mind, the Joy candle is lit to remind us of how God has already brought joy to this broken world, even as we look ahead to its full restoration with Christ’s return.
Lord, we praise you for your ability to redeem this world and repair its broken parts. We thank you that you would reveal some part of this plan to us in your Word. We thank you for the gift of joy found in Jesus. We pray that this substantial joy – the joy experienced even by the angels in heaven – would be felt in our lives and that you would set us free from the evils we are experiencing in our daily lives. Even in times of great sorrow and loss, we thank you that the joy you provide is stronger and outlasts the pain, because it is rooted in the eternal hope of the renewal of all things. We pray this in Jesus’ name, and for your glory. Amen.
Ideas for Activities:
1. As a family, make a list of prayers God has answered in the last year. Were there any surprises in how God answered those prayers?
2. Visit someone who is in a nursing home or in a hospital – someone you know, who you haven’t seen in a long while.
3. If you like to sing, go Christmas caroling with a group!