Lighting the Christ candle, 2022

On this holy, silent night we pause from all the other activities of this busy season to give thanks that the waiting and hoping for God’s joy and love will this night be fulfilled. We have marked each of the four weeks of Advent by lighting a candle to bring a little more light to the darkness of our broken world.

But this night is special. Tonight, when December days are the shortest of the year, we gather to celebrate the light of the world that will never be overcome by darkness. We know that the sun will shine longer tomorrow and each day to come, and we know that God’s Son will shine brighter because we will carry the light of his glory in our hearts as we return to our daily lives.

The candles of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love have lighted our Advent journey. They stand in a circular wreath that, like God’s love, has no beginning and no end. But on this Holy night we light the tallest and brightest candle, the Christ candle, to celebrate the wonderful birth of our Savior and Messiah.

[Light the Christ Candle]

The Christ Candle is not like those we put on our birthday cakes. We do not blow this candle out. Instead from it we will light our own candles to symbolize the light of the world that glows in the hearts of all who follow Jesus.

Pray with me please: O most High and Holy One, on this night come once more to your lowliest birth in a barn. Come again to a world where there is too often no room for you in our busy lives. We know the Christmas story so well it is hard to hear it with fresh ears. Break through our traditions this time, Lord. Scare us out of our routine expectations for this night, just as you startled those poor shepherds outside Bethlehem so long ago. Blow us away with visions of angels that inspire us to run to Bethlehem to see what’s going on. Open our hearts to believe that this is not just any other night. Give us eyes to see that this is not just another Christmas like all the others. For this very night in 2022 a Savior is born again wherever meek souls will receive him. Come, Lord Jesus, come; we pray in your Holy name, Amen