Advent 3: Joy

Advent Week 3

The Shepherd Candle: Joy

Advent Reading: Luke 2:8-12
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

Our family was flying from Seattle to Minneapolis to visit my family. With Madi, our 14 month old in tow we made it through security and to our gate. I was walking to check out the food options with Olivia (9) when I hear someone yell my name.

I turned to see a friend I hadn’t seen in years.

“Dude! Your band is awesome!” He went on to say how he loved the new music we had just released. We talked for a few minutes then both had to catch our flights.

Olivia asked who he was, so I showed her a few videos of his band…at sold out arenas…all over the world.

“Dad! He’s famous!! And he knows you!! He even recognized you down the hall and called your name!” And for a moment I was the cool dad. Lasted 2 minutes until I said no to buying more gum.

The Shepherd candle is something like that interaction. Bethlehem was a nowhere. Full of nobodies. Like shepherds. Like me. The shepherds never hoped for greatness. They never in their wildest dreams would believe that 2,000 years later we would be singing songs about them and lighting candles in their memory.

But God chose these shepherds to be the first to see his Glory. He invited them to the birthday party of eternity. God picked the least and made them great. God picked the lowly and lifted them up.

And if God chose to do that for shepherds, maybe he wants to do that for us.

What if we saw ourselves how Olivia briefly saw me? A new lens of hope, admiration and belief that there’s more than the old dad who has made a lot of parenting mistakes and doesn’t let you do anything fun.

What if, for a moment, we saw ourselves through God’s eyes? Set aside any past failures. Forget any circumstances or points of view that would say you are not good enough. Don’t worry about everything you don’t have or all the reasons why you can’t.

And what if, despite all our doubts or even odds, we muster the faith to believe one thing: God can. God wants to. The God who created the universe can, and, wants to do something incredible in us that brings him great glory! It’s not really about us but about Him!

As we find our way to Christmas this year, remember the shepherds. And remember this:

God knows you. He cares about you. He has great things in store for you. You are a part of His great plan. And that brings Him great JOY!

Question: How does God want to use you to bring him Glory this week?

Prayer: Dear God, thank you for loving us so much. Thank you for sending your son to save us from our sins. Thank you for using the uncommon, unexpected and undesirable in your great plan to bring us back to you. We love you Jesus. Amen.

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