2The people walking in darkness have seen a great light. On those living in a pitch-dark land, light has dawned. 3 You have made the nation great; you have increased its joy. They rejoiced before you as with joy at the harvest, as those who divide plunder rejoice. 4 As on the day of Midian, you’ve shattered the yoke that burdened them, the staff on their shoulders, and the rod of their oppressor. 5 Because every boot of the thundering warriors, and every garment rolled in blood will be burned, fuel for the fire. 6 A child is born to us, a son is given to us, and authority will be on his shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. 7 There will be vast authority and endless peace for David’s throne and for his kingdom, establishing and sustaining it with justice and righteousness now and forever.
The zeal of the Lord of heavenly forces will do this.
“He shall be called Emmanuel, which means God with us” What an amazing promise. Words do not do justice to the thought of God coming down to us to dwell with and in us. Tonight, we light the Christ candle, which reminds us that all the promises we celebrate during the Advent season are fulfilled in Christ. Christ is at the center of the wreath, the center of the protection of God, the very core of the work that God is doing in creation. The candle is white to remind us that Christ is the holy and pure sacrifice. The candle also stands in contrast to the other four; serving to remind us that Christ is distinct from the other promises of God. He is the object the other promises of Advent are pointing toward. Christmas Eve is often a time of remembrance, looking back on the birth of Christ some two thousand years ago; but lighting the Christ candle should, also, remind us that Christ has been birthed in each of our lives today. In many churches, the Christmas Eve service ends with a candlelight vigil. In this service the light begins at the Christ candle and is taken person to person until it fills the audience. The individual candles are a significant reminder that Christ is with us each of us.
When we light the Christ candle, we also look ahead to Christ’s Second Advent. Just as the wreath is completed in the lighting of the candle, so God’s plan will be completed with Christ’s return. Lighting the Christ candle reminds us we are to be preparing the world for the return of its king. We have been tasked with a responsibility to assist God in the transformation of this world. The completion of Advent reminds us that we need to be about our work so that when Christ does return the world will be prepared for his arrival. May we remember the light of Christ spread to us to fulfill our duty to him.
Lord may I see in your light your coming in the past, your presence in my present, and my work toward your future arrival; help me always to recognize your light within me and to spread that light to others, in your Most Holy Name. Amen.