Scripture – Isaiah 9:2-7
2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined. 3 You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. 4 For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. 5 For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire. 6 For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
Advent Reading – “This Year” by Ann Weems
I wonder if God comes to the edge of heaven each Advent
and flings the Star into the December sky,
laughing with joy as it lights the darkness of the earth;
and the angels, hearing the laughter of God,
begin to congregate in some celestial chamber
to practice their alleluias.
I wonder if there’s some ordering of rank among the angels
as they move into procession,
the seraphim bumping the cherubim from top spot,
the new inhabitants of heaven standing the back
until they get the knack of it.
(After all, treading air over a stable and annunciating at the
same time can’t be all that easy!)
Or is everybody – that is, every “soul” – free to fly
wherever the spirit moves?
Or do they even think about it?
Perhaps when God calls, perhaps they just come,
this multitude of heavenly hosts.
Perhaps they come,
winging through the winds of time
full of expectancy
full of hope
that this year
perhaps this year
the earth will fall to its knees
in a whisper of “Peace.”
Lighting the Candle
Prayer: Newborn God, tonight, we rejoice with the angels. We hear your laughter, we feel your joy, and we want to add our “Alleluia!” to the eternal chorus. We fall into rank with all those throughout the ages who have sung your praise, all those since the beginning of time who have anxiously awaited the birth of a Savior – of grace and glory and redemption all wrapped up together in swaddling clothes. On this holy night, God, we find ourselves full of expectancy. We find ourselves full of hope. Fill us with your peace so that we may walk in your light and extend your hand of mercy to a world in need. Amen.
 Ann Weems. “This Year” in Kneeling in Bethlehem: Poetry for Advent and Christmas. (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1993), 41.