Crossroads: The Christ Candle

advent_wreath_xsmMerry Christmas!

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, we have explored what each group was waiting for: we learned about the prophets who were waiting for something they’d never see (the Messiah). We focused on Mary and Joseph, a couple waiting for the changes that come with a big transition: a new baby. We learned about the shepherds, who were simply waiting for daylight when Jesus changed everything. Last week we focused on the angels, who waited thousands and thousands of years to be able to shout the good news that Jesus had come and that He would save the world. Today we celebrate the birth of Jesus, and as we celebrate, we remember that Jesus waited for just the right time to enter the world.

John 1:1-18

The Christ Candle

Light the three purple candles, the pink candle, and the white candle in the center. Say: “Today we light the white candle, the Christ candle, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus. We also light three purple candles, the candles that remind us that Jesus brought hope, love, and peace to the world. We light the pink candle to remind us of the joy Jesus brings.”

Read John 1:1-18. From the NIV: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’” From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.”

“In the beginning was the Word…” Jesus is the Word, and He has been around since the beginning of time. And yet He waited until the time was right for Him to come into the world, to jumpstart God’s rescue plan and to save us because we couldn’t save ourselves. Have you ever thought about how long Jesus waited? Since Jesus has been with God since the very beginning, that means He watched Adam and Eve turn their backs on God. He watched the people make bad choices and fall further and further away from God. He watched people choose God and people turn from God. He was there for everything. I sometimes wonder if perhaps Jesus was like a child who has woken early on Christmas morning, asking “is it time yet?” every five minutes. Maybe every so often Jesus looked at God and asked “is it time yet? Can we rescue them yet? Can we interrupt the messiness and save them yet?” Maybe Jesus was like a child on Christmas morning waiting impatiently for the right time to arrive. Or perhaps Jesus waited patiently, until He felt it in the depths of himself that finally it was time. However He felt, Jesus waited until just the right moment to come into the world as a baby.

Once again, God did something unexpected. To the people who had been waiting so long for a Messiah, it may have seemed like they asked for a toy for Christmas and instead they got underwear. They were expecting a king to come and instead they got a baby. And yet, in that perfect moment that Jesus chose to come down to the world, the people received a far better gift than they could know or understand. The Gospel of John reminds us that the world didn’t recognize Jesus. The world didn’t understand that a Messiah had come in the form of a baby to change our lives forever. But those who recognized Jesus and believed received a far better gift than they expected. They expected war and they received peace, hope, joy, and love, a love that conquers everything and is all consuming.

We have been patiently waiting (or not so patiently waiting) to celebrate Jesus’ birth. And on this day of celebration, remember that Jesus waited until just the right time to come to our world. As we pray and present requests to God, may we remember that God waits until just the right time to answer us.

Discussion

• As a family, talk about times when you have had to wait until a certain time to do something. Perhaps for your children, it was this morning when they had to wait to open presents. How did it feel to have to wait? How does it sometimes feel to have to wait on God?
• Remind your family that even though it can be hard to wait, we can have peace knowing that God waits until His perfect time to answer us.

Prayer

Thank God for sending Jesus to rescue us. Thank God for His overwhelming love and His perfect timing.

Jessica Asbell is currently serving as the Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Roswell, GA. She has worked with children in various capacities at several churches, including Winter Park Baptist in Wilmington, NC, First Baptist of Decatur, GA, and Highland Hills Baptist in Macon, GA. She has a Master of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology and a BBA from Mercer University. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, and of course spend time with her sweet kitty, Lucy.

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