Stories, thoughts and reflections on the Bible from the WSFC Staff.
This week I am on Part Three of a mini-devotional series for Advent. Advent is an annual, focused time of anticipating the coming birth of Jesus by utilizing various candles and the corresponding meanings.
In today’s devotional, I will take a glimpse at the Angel candle. In Luke 2:13-14 we read of a multitude of heavenly hosts that came upon the scene with some pretty serious fanfare: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
Note the exclamation point (!) at the end of the angels declaration. It’s in the biblical text for emphasis. This was no passive announcement. This was a strong clarion call to worship and praise.
Before expounding upon this please allow me to recap our previous Advent devotionals…
Historically there are 5 candles in the wreath that are lit in succession. There is no standard across evangelical Christianity as to the concrete meaning of each of the candles because it has changed and adapted over the centuries, however, most commonly we find the candles designated as such: Prophets, Bethlehem, Shepherds, Angels and finally Jesus (celebrated on Christmas Eve). The first candle (The Prophets) is to be lit at the start of Advent, often the weekend after Thanksgiving. This is to remind us of the sweeping, and confirming prophecies concerning Jesus the Messiah. To dig deeper into these prophesies look up Isaiah 7:14; 9:6-7 and 53:2-6.
The second candle is for Bethlehem. Forever honored as the town where our Savior was born, Bethlehem was so named because it was a center of wheat production. In Hebrew Bethlehem means “House of Bread.” Bethlehem is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank about 5 miles south of Jerusalem. It was crucially important for the nourishing and sustaining the people of Israel. Isn’t it amazing how poetic and prophetic this is? God’s Son, Jesus is the Bread of Life entered the world at a site named “House of Bread.” The Written Bread (The Bible) points to the Living Bread (Jesus).
The third candle is for the Shepherds. The shepherds were carefully and quietly watching their sheep during the night watch. There probably wasn’t a whole lot happening, because there is very little that is exciting about a shepherd’s duties, other than the occasional wolf or pack of dogs. For the most part, their job was a simple and sleepy one. These are solitary moments. The quietness is almost deafening, but it is in moments like these that God shows up. Such is the case with prayer. Prayer is like the shepherds night watch.
Then there is the Angel candle. This I want to connect to the subject of WORSHIP.
The Word. Prayer. And now…Worship. These are the three topics that we have been exploring at West Salem Foursquare during our current teaching series: Christmas Unwrapped.
The angels serve as examples of inspired and intentional praise and worship to our great God. It’s worship such as this that establishes a receptive environment for the coming of Jesus Christ. This is affirmed in Psalm 22:3 in the King James Version of the Bible: “But thou art holy, thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.” God dwells within our praises.
Let’s join the angels (both at the announcement of Jesus’ birth as well as the ones around the very throne of God) with our worship.
Perhaps we need to add some exclamation points to our praise!!!!!