Scripture – James 5:7-11
7 Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. 8 You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. 9 Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! 10 As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 Indeed we call blessed those who showed endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
Advent Reading – “The Coming of God” by Ann Weems
Our God is the One who comes to us
in a burning bush,
in an angel’s song,
in a newborn child.
Our God is the One who cannot be found
locked in the church,
not even in the sanctuary.
Our God will be where God will be
with no constraints,
Our God lives where our God lives,
and destruction has no power
and even death cannot stop
Our God will be born where God will be born,
but there is no place to look for the One who comes to us.
When God is ready
God will come
even to a godforsaken place
like a stable in Bethlehem.
for you know not when
Watch, that you might be found
Lighting the Candle
Prayer: God of many faces, we pray that you will open our eyes during this Advent season. Open our eyes to the many ways you appear in our days – in the faces of those we love, in the faces of those we find it hard to love, in the faces of the strangers in line at the grocery store and the person on the corner holding a cardboard sign that asks for help. Open our hearts to the ways that you stir us to move with you – in the sound of a ringing bell, in the words of the carol that we’ve heard a hundred times before, in the silent spaces. Keep our hearts, our minds, and our souls watchful, God, for the whenever and wherever moments. Amen.
 Ann Weems. “The Coming of God” in Kneeling in Bethlehem: Poetry for Advent and Christmas. (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1993), 15.